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March 29, 2015

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Damon Political Report

State Senate passes major budget bills

Sun Coverage

In a 15-6 vote, the Nevada Senate passed three of the five bills needed to process the $6.2 billion general fund budget agreed to by legislative leaders and Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Eschewing the traditional speeches that cap a difficult budget debate, senators quietly voted on the bill to authorize state spending, fund the capital improvements plan and pay state workers.

The Assembly is expected to act on those bills, as well as the bill funding the state’s school districts, later this evening. The education bill includes another $500 million in funding from room and other local taxes, bringing the total budget agreement to $6.7 billion.

Five Senate Republicans voted against the budget bills: Senators Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas; Greg Brower, R-Reno; Don Gustavson, R-Sparks; Elizabeth Halseth, R-Las Vegas; Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas; and James Settelmeyer, R-Minden.

Lawmakers also have to pass the bills to fund the budget, including legislation extending the sunset on the 2009 tax increase for two years and another eliminating $23 million in tax deductions for the mining industry.

Under the bill on state employee pay, workers would take a 2.5 percent pay cut and six furlough days a year.

CORRECTION: This story was changed to accurately reflect the final vote count.

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  1. MINING'S proposal is an absolute JOKE and INSULT to the People of NEVADA!

    Let's change the Nevada Constitution, to fix these archaic laws that were written over 100 years ago that no longer fit modern times, nor account for the changes that have happened over that time with Nevada's massive population growth!

    Mining has paid a pittance, and prospered on the backs and goodwill of the Citizens of Nevada for over a century with MINING foreign and out of state owners exploiting Nevada's precious and semi-precious metals and minerals.

    There is something terribly wrong in the MINING INDUSTRY'S offer, one which dangles cash in front of a hungry and hurting state for a lousy deal--just another exploitation.

    MINING is one of the reasons we are in this budget mess---if they had been paying their fair share over the past 100 years, our state would be the envy of all the USA! SHAME SHAME SHAME

    At the very least, MINING should be paying at least an average amount of what they are paying in the other 49 states. That would be FAIR. The good People of Nevada deserve nothing less!

  2. Mining likes to pretend it is a regular business. Other businesses in Nevada do not take the natural resources - which can only be taken ONCE - and make a profit from them.

    We are all a little more poor when we allow miners to come into our state, and take the gold for free. That gold belongs to the people in this state. It is purchased for a small small small fee. Then the miners use our schools, our roads, our airports, our government buildings, our communities - UNTIL the gold is gone.

    Once the gold is gone, they abandon the area. If they have leached the ground with poison, they leave and claim to have cleaned it up. How do you get tons of poison out of mountains of dirt or remove it from the water table?

    Nevada is already full of holes and poisoned places. AND what do we have to show for it? Has mining ever really given our communities anything more than crumbs? They make BILLIONS each quarter from the natural resources that belong to us all.

    Some may claim they have a right to do this because it's legal. I ask, why is it legal? The projections are that there is ONE TRILLION dollars worth of gold still left in Nevada. WHEN, if not now, will mining pay for the gold it takes. Are we going to look back in a few decades and regret it? Could we do something about it now?

    SJR 15 would allow the people to vote to remove the constitutional provision that is special only to mining. They have a 150+ year old protection that no other business has with a constitutional cap on taxes.

    SB 493 would create a committee to oversee the supposed deductions mining is allowed to take. They have taken total advantage of Nevada over the years - deducting housing, insurance, fees to world organizations, and Canadian executive salaries. Not to mention that there are large discrepancies between what they claim on their tax information and what they report to their shareholders as profit.

    It's time NOW for mining to pay its fair share . . . not something we should regret in 20 years when ONE TRILLION dollars worth of gold has been leached out of the dirt.

  3. This article says, "FIVE Senate Republicans voted against the budget bills", and then lists SIX Republican Senators. I know the Sun has a horrible liberal bias, but I at-least figured that its employees could count to six. The Sun never ceases to amaze me.

  4. MOST teachers in Nevada took the hit, have NOT had COLA (cost of living adjustments/raises in their salaries)for nearly 4 years now! You can look at my pay stub. Some of us saw the handwriting on the wall and did not get into the extra debts of extra degrees, although we did continue to take professional development university coursework to maintain best practices and our licenses for renewal. It is pretty sad when there are workers out there that are not put through the rigors as educators and make an insane amount of money. Talk about values!

    Nevada has a problem with archaic MINING laws. For over a century, these laws have barely been touched, in due to the population size of Nevada and lack of awareness by the public. Also, decades of "kick the political can down the road" by the good ol'boys serving without term limits, not having to account to much of anyone or anything but their own. Had MINING been addressed decades ago, we would NOT be in this mess!

    Will this lack of responsibility continue or will LAWMAKERS have the courage to do the right thing for the People that elected them?

    Now this issue comes front and center, as it is a major resource for a POSITIVE REVENUE STREAM so that the State of Nevada can function--IF the NEVADA STATE LAWMAKERS have the courage to CHANGE THE NEVADA CONSTITUTION regarding MINING EXEMPTIONS AND LOOPHOLES!!!!

    Citizens must voice their interest NOW, call, email, visit their LAWMAKERS TODAY, before June 6th when the LEGISLATIVE SESSION ENDS. Please and Thank YOU!