Las Vegas Sun

October 19, 2017

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Damon Political Report

Mining industry offers cash to state to ditch effort to eliminate deductions for sales tax and health insurance

Sun Coverage

In a last ditch effort to keep lawmakers from eliminating some of the industry’s priciest tax deductions, a handful of the state’s largest mining companies are offering to make a one-time cash payment to the state.

In a budget deal reached between legislative leaders and Gov. Brian Sandoval, the mining industry would be on the hook for about $23 million in additional net proceeds taxes to the state and $23 million to counties with mining operations.

To raise that revenue, a bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, would eliminate a slew of questionable deductions the mining industry has been taking.

Mining lobbyists, however, oppose Horsford’s effort to eliminate deductions for medical insurance and sales tax—which would cost them about $12 million a year.

Instead, a handful of large mining companies, including Barrick and Newmont, are offering to make a one-time cash payment to the state of about a $12 million.

Legislative lawyers, however, cautioned lawmakers that such a move is not legally possible.

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, said he is willing to discuss the offer, but won’t scuttle the budget deal—which relies on the mining revenue—if Horsford rejects the offer.

It’s unlikely Horsford, who has spent the session fighting for clarification on mining industry deductions, would give on his legislation.

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