CARSON CITY (KSNV MyNews3) -- The mining industry is the big target for tax dollars this legislative session. Though the people will likely get the final say on this one, lawmakers are preparing for Nevada's constitution to be changed so mining can be forced to pay more.
That means lots of competing legislation.
Lawmakers are debating whether mines should be taxed on what's underground or are they exempt until they pull that mineral out of the ground.
State Sen. Tick Segerblom says if voters want Nevada's constitution change so mining can pay more, then you have to look at what lies beneath to make sure Nevadans are getting the most bang for their buck.
Segerblom is backing a bill that would tax mines on the minerals in the ground even before they're extracted.
“A mining company could sit on billion dollars of property and, just like the vacant piece of property on the Strip, we're valuing that sales price, we're not basing it after they built the Bellagio,” he said. “So why should a piece of property in Las Vegas be treated different than one in Elko County.
“We just think that's wrong.”
State Sen. Ben Kieckhefer is a co-sponsor on a bill that would do the opposite of Segerblom’s.
“So assessing it like property on the Strip -- true value -- you know what you can build on is very different from what you can get out of the Earth,” he said. “It's building up versus digging down.”
Kieckhefer agrees mining should pay more but says taxing them before they even know what they've got is premature.
Dave Shadrick, who explores mines’ potential and says Segerblom's bill could be taxing something worth nothing.
Shadrick says you could be sitting on a $1 billion gold mine and not even know it, but once the gold is out, mining pays up.