Thursday, April 9, 2009 | 1:52 p.m.
CARSON CITY -- A liberal group held an event in front of the legislative building today, matching tax deductions for the mining industry with unmet social service needs in Nevada.
"Mining not paying its fair share of revenue has painful ramifications for Nevada families dealing with autism and other hardships," said Bob Fulkerson, director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.
The law allows mining companies to deduct certain expenses in the calculation of the taxable value of minerals.
PLAN says eliminating the deduction for refining, for instance, would allow the state to add $22 million for autism services.
Gold mining companies, who are enjoying significant profits due to record gold prices, have a bulls-eye on their backs this legislative session as lawmakers attempt to close a budget deficit of at least $2 billion. Gold is selling for more than $850 an ounce, and the largest gold mining companies, Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining, have market capitalizations that are significantly higher than Nevada's big gaming companies.
Tim Crowley, president of the Nevada Mining Association, said "we have great appreciation for the fact that the state is suffering." He said the mining companies employ Nevadans whose children need educating and require other state and local government services. He said the industry is happy to pay more taxes, as long as they are broad-based and fair and don't single out one industry. He said the industry paid $200 million in taxes in 2007.