Wednesday, July 4, 2012

As If Mining Doesn't Get a Sweet Enough Deal

Last week, we talked about the ongoing saga of the mining industry avoiding paying taxes. Now, we're learning that it's even worse than we had originally thought.

Three Nevada mining companies have shorted their taxes by $8.7 million since 2008, according to recently completed audits of their tax returns.

The audits of 17 mining operations owned by Eagle Picher, Ormat Nevada and Barrick are the first of an industrywide examination by the Department of Taxation that is expected to extend to 2015.

The scrutiny was sparked last year when lawmakers discovered the state’s tax department had not audited major mining companies for two years.

Critics of Nevada’s mining industry, who have said the industry does not pay enough in taxes, said the audits revealed “outrageous” behavior by the companies.

“In the face of billions of dollars mining companies are taking out of Nevada, it might be minor,” said Bob Fulkerson, executive director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. “It’s the principle. They’re getting such a great deal to begin with, but even that’s not enough to satisfy their greed. That’s what’s outrageous. That’s what’s incomprehensible.”

Yep, yep, yep.

It's bad enough that multinational mining conglomerates pay hardly anything in taxes to our state. And now, we're finding out that they're not even fully paying that? There's something seriously wrong with this picture.

Sure, the mining companies didn't underpay by all that much. Still, they really shouldn't be underpaying at all. Don't they get a sweet enough deal already?

Perhaps it's time for Nevada to declare our independence from mining industry lobbyists.

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