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April 24, 2015

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Gasoline, mining tax bills punted out of committee

The Senate Committee on Revenue and Economic Development passed the buck Thursday on bills to raise the gasoline tax and to start a new system of taxing mines.

The committee, without recommendation, sent the bills to the Senate Finance Committee that is charged with drafting the state’s budget.

The committee, however, voted to approve a bill to provide up to $35 million a year in tax credits to movie and TV producing companies that film in Nevada.

But that bill was also sidetracked to the Finance Committee for further consideration.

On the gasoline tax, Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, chairwoman of the Finance Committee, said she supported the measure, SB377, but was concerned about its impacts.

The bill would impose an annual 2-cent tax increase per gallon for 10 years on all fuels except airplane fuel. Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, the sponsor of the bill, said it would allow the state to bond up to $3 billion to take care of Nevada’s highway needs.

Segerblom’s mining tax bill would set in place a new way to tax mines if voters in 2014 repeal the constitution that provides a limit on the rate mines can be taxed.

Before referring SB400 to Finance, the committee adopted an amendment by Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, to eliminate a section of the bill that would impose a tax on underground deposits of such things as gold and silver that had not been mined.

Denis said there was a question how a tax could be levied on a mineral that was still in the ground and had not yet been produced.

If this bill is passed this session, Denis said it would give the 2015 Legislature something “to work with” in setting a new tax system for mines. Voters in 2014 are going to be asked to eliminate the mining protection tax that is now part of the Constitution.

Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, acknowledged his bill to change the tax on mining, SB401, is dead. He told the committee that the Segerblom bill “is fairly complicated” and his motion to send it to the Finance Committee was approved unanimously.

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