Friday, March 8, 2013 | 10:55 a.m.
A Republican proposal to ask voters to increase taxes on gold and silver mining operations is a punitive attempt to "inflict pain" on the industry, Nevada Mining Association president Tim Crowley said today in an interview taped for the political talk show "To the Point."
In some of his most pointed comments since Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson announced plans to seek a mining tax increase, Crowley accused the cadre or Republicans of "ulterior motives."
"We found that people that spring tax plans on various segments of the economy, whether it's mining or any other segment, if they do it in a way that is aggressive like that, that their motives tend to be not just to work with the industry and generate more money, it's to be punitive and to damage that industry," Crowley said. "So that was our first reaction: that it was something meant with ulterior motives to actually inflict pain."
On Tuesday, Roberson and five of his Republican colleagues said they would seek to repeal mining's constitutional tax provisions and ask voters to approve a second ballot initiative to change the way the industry is taxed. Roberson presented the mining tax idea as a way to kill the margins tax ballot initiative supported by the teachers union that will likely be placed on the 2014 ballot.
During a press conference Tuesday, Roberson said he intends to work with his friends in the mining industry to develop a fair method of taxing gold that would result in more revenue for Nevada schools. He denied the move was punitive.
"We support the mining industry," Roberson said. "We are glad they are here. We want them to be profitable and productive, but we also want to look at the mining industry and how they generate revenue for the state compared to how we generate revenue from the gaming industry."
Crowley's full interview will air on Channel 3 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.