Mining Display Opens, Amid Challenges - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Mining Display Opens, Amid Challenges

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Nevada's mining industry is getting some special recognition now, at one of the busiest places in town. The next time you're at the airport, you'll see this in Concourse B: a 20-foot long display on your right as you head to your plane. If you're not in a rush, take a look at what created our state, and what still provides the backbone to our rural economy.

At the interactive mining display opened today…press some buttons and the lights show active mining operations. They are also the places where you'll also find the state's lowest unemployment, from 2.9 to 5.5%, compared to 7.7% for the rest of the state. Mining companies say the job picture is still strong...even expanding. Nevada Mining Association president Tim Crowley told us there are new projects, “Like copper in Yerington, more mining in Eureka, and lithium for lithium ion batteries in Winnemucca."

Besides the high pay, there have always been good benefits. Before there was an Affordable Care Act, almost all miners were covered. 93% of all miners received health care compared to the state average of 55% of all workers. College is covered too. As Crowley told us, "If you're the child of a miner, you're almost guaranteed a scholarship to an institution of higher learning."

The display shows the dozens of the state’s active gold mines. Thanks to the price of gold, which accounts for most of Nevada's mining, the industry has been doing well. There have been some layoffs as gold prices dropped, but they're still high…and half of the mining taxes go to rural counties, which thrive in good times. Crowley told us the mines benefit rural communities, "primarily with its tax contributions, but also putting people into good jobs, giving charitable contributions to the communities, and making our communities hum."

It all makes for a tempting target…for more tax income. Nevada’s constitution sets the tax on mining’s net proceeds…since 1989 it’s been capped at 5%. Several legislators, even some republicans, have called for that cap to be removed and for the rate to be doubled. Ballot question 2’s language reads, “Shall the Nevada constitution be amended to remove the cap on the taxation of minerals, and other requirements and restrictions related to the taxation of mines, mining claims and minerals and the distribution of money collected from such taxation.”

It would remove the constitutional protections for the net proceeds of minerals tax paid by mining companies. If approved, it would allow the legislature and governor to increase taxes paid by the industry. Tim Crowley knows, the target is on their back. In a state where there's no state individual or corporate tax, they’re pushing for others to pick up the slack. He says the Association has been consistent in its battle, "Since the last time we visited taxes in 2002 and 2003. We have supported a broad-based business tax."

You the voter will have a say in that important question this year. We have a link where you can keep track of all the ballot measures that are proposed this year…just click below:

http://votesmart.org/elections/ballot-measures/NV#.U87JgYdOUdU

 

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