Nevada’s mining industry has been under attack for the past three years not because of any failures but because of its success.
The Nevada State Education Association—the teachers’ union—has been behind a campaign which, roughly translated, says that since mining is now making big money, it should pay more to offset the decline of the state’s income.
It’s always interesting to hear the view of those who depend on tax dollars for their livelihood.
You cannot explain to them that companies like Newmont and Barrick were making huge investments in Nevada when gold was $300 an ounce and that the current price of gold and silver might last another 15 minutes, 15 days or 15 years, depending on a myriad of factors, but that those investments would not change.
You cannot explain to them that those huge investments have had a ripple effect in the economy which has increased tax revenue just as surely as if there were an income tax on the value of gold in the ground.
And you cannot explain to them that in America, we don’t single out industries which are having some success as tax targets. Because, if we did that, there would be no incentive to invest. Where would Microsoft be if there were software taxes? Where would Apple be if there were iPhone taxes? Where would Boeing be if there was an airplane tax?
The very people charged with explaining how America works to our kids get a severe case of tunnel vision when it comes to collecting taxes, some of which pay their salaries.
There are two answers here.
First is that mining companies pay huge sales and use taxes on the equipment they buy. The taxes on earthmoving equipment alone could pay for the operations of several rural county school districts.
Second, of course, is the fact that there is absolutely no evidence that more money buys more education.
Only in Carson City and in Washington D.C. is a reduction in growth of a budget considered a cut.
Nobody in any industry in this state has taken the position that we should kill off our schools, despite what the teachers’ union says.
But discouraging an industry from further investments in the state is a) a job killer and b) a tax revenue killer in the long run.
The answer where the mining industry is concerned is simple.
Leave the tax structure alone and encourage more investment in the state. The more investment, the more sales and use taxes and the more jobs. The more jobs, the more sales and use taxes…well, you get the picture.
Mining s a golden goose, literally laying golden eggs.
Don’t kill it off.