Mining says OK to fees, gaming says no dice | NevadaAppeal.com

Mining says OK to fees, gaming says no dice

BRIAN DUGGAN
bduggan@nevadaappeal.com

While the Nevada gaming industry told Senators on Friday it could not handle more fees to help balance an $888 million budget shortfall, the head of the Nevada Mining Association said they’re on board to help raise $100 million.

Tim Crowley, the president of the Nevada Mining Association, said his organization will support a new fee on mining claims to raise about $25 million. He added the industry wants the fee to be temporary.

Also included in the mining deal, publicly unveiled for the first time on Friday, would include $20 million in prepaid taxes.

But the biggest chunk of revenue from the mining industry, about $50 million to $60 million, would come from new tax revenue as a result of raising gold prices, which was $1,117 per ounce on Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford said there’s disagreement over the prepaid tax proposal, but added that, “I appreciate the mining industry working with legislators to help us balance this budget.”

Earlier on Friday, Horsford gave a speech calling on Nevada industries to contribute more to help solve the state’s budget crisis.

“The West and Nevada wouldn’t have been developed without massive investment and tax breaks provided by taxpayers,” Horsford said, imploring companies “pay their fair share.”

He added that while the economy is down, there are sectors that are doing well, including mining, banking and insurance.

But late Thursday, the Nevada Resort Association told lawmakers that they would not accept $32.5 million in new fees.

Billy Vassiliadis, a lobbyist for the NRA told lawmakers that his industry would be unable to sustain new fees after $6.7 billion in losses last year and nearly 35,000 layoffs in recent years.

“We’re not here to say no, we’re here to provide information on how damaging new fees on the industry could be,” Vassiliadis said.

In response to Horsford’s morning speech, Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, said before lawmakers attempt to tax the private sector more, “let’s at least take the blood pressure of the patient before we wheel him into the hospital and begin administering a cure.”