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MINING INVESTIGATION: Mining industry says companies contribute greatly to Nevada

Reported by: Reed Cowan
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Updated: 3/05/2013 12:27 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Nevada's mining industry takes gold from the ground and exports it out of the country, making billions of dollars. Some say a clause in the state constitution shields the industry from paying adequate taxes.

In some cases, less than 1 percent on net proceeds is paid in taxes to the state of Nevada.
Coming Wednesday on News 3 at 5: While legislators consider important million-dollar questions involving the mining industry, News 3’s Reed Cowan went to Carson City to examine the army of lobbyists hired to bend the ear of your elected officials to protect the status quo for mining.

The Nevada Legislature is grappling with taking mining's protections out of the state constitution. The industry is waging an all-out public relations war to try and convince residents that the status quo is working.

Tim Crowley of the Nevada Mining Association says the allegations are simply not true. He says mining pays more than its fair share in to Nevada's coffers and that residents just don't understand the good mining does for Nevada.

The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada is leading the charge against big mining, saying a clause in the Nevada state constitution allows mining to pay no more than 5 percent in taxes and gives mining the ability to write off expenses to such a ridiculous extent, some mines end up paying less than a percentage point in to the state's general fund.

“Eight percent of every dollar that goes in to the state's general fund comes from the mining industry,” Crowley said.

Crowley says the mining industry pays their employees double the state average in salaries, providing the lion’s share of employees’ insurance coverage and paying more per employee in employee taxes than other industries.

And big mining, he says, funds schools and hospitals. And it reinvests.

But critics persist when the gold is gone, so will be mining. And, critics add, communities whither if mining dosen't pay more when it’s here.

Nevada mining admits the gold goes out of the country to London.

While the gold goes out and the money is reinvested in to being able to get the gold out of the ground, mining is able to deduct costs for extraction, which, it says, is expensive.

Critics say those costs -- in some cases -- tally so high on mining's books that state law allows deductions that result in tiny taxes for billion-dollar conglomerates.
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