July 30, 2020 - 9:00 pm
In his July 26 column, Steve Sebelius offers “six reasons Nevada doesn’t have a higher mining tax.” I would add two more reasons.
The first three reasons offered by Mr. Sebelius point to the power of Northern Nevada. The North doesn’t want the tax, Northern representatives of both houses control the vote and Northern leadership has produced strong roadblocks against any increase of mining taxes.
Reason four speaks to the weakness of our current governor, who has refused to take a stand on the issue. As Mr. Sebelius notes, the governor has taken “just a wait and see” approach to legislative action.
The fifth point of view faults those in favor of correcting mining’s privileged status because they make tactical mistakes and try to “ram and jam” a vote.”
Finally, the reasoning points to the fear that “if gold becomes too expensive to produce, mining will slow down or stop.” The fear is real but not supported by reality. Nevada has one of the world’s biggest reserves of gold, and mining pays less tax here than it does in many Latin American countries. The mining industry is not leaving Nevada.
The six good reasons offered by Mr. Sebelius miss two reasons worth noting.
First, our political representative are well-supported by mining campaign contributions, suggesting that our representatives are more concerned with their own pocketbooks than with the state’s economic health. Some people would call those contributions “payola.”
The six proffered reasons also fail to call out the cowardly nature of our political representatives. One strong political voice could argue the privileged status of mining in Nevada, drive the point home and contribute to the economic well-being of Nevada.
The mining industry could well afford a $500 million tax and still take a king’s share of Nevada’s natural resource to the coffers of international corporations. Unfortunately, none of Nevada’s representative has the courage to step forward and correct what is obviously an inequitable situation.