Monday, March 18, 2013

Mining for #Winning

Ah, so now we know. Senator Michael Roberson (R-Henderson) has risked dividing his own party (even further than it has already been) with his IP 1 mining tax alternative. So why has he been willing to escalate Nevada Republicans' civil war?

This helps explain why. Remember when Monte Miller was pushing a mining tax initiative? Let's just say he didn't pull the plug on it due to lack of public support.

Before he abandoned his attempt to tax mining last year, businessman Monte Miller hired master voter contact man Billy Rogers to gauge support. So Rogers went door-to-door asking folks how they felt about raising the mining tax from 5 percent to 9 percent.

Out of 22,991 interviews completed before Miller decided not to proceed, Rogers identified 18,634 mining tax hike supporters. That's 81 percent.

So not only would a mining tax pass -- my guess is no matter what the industry did to try to block any ballot question -- it would pass overwhelmingly.

Highlights (and the full demographics are attached here):

· Overall, 81 percent supported increasing the mining tax

· 88 percent of Democrats supported increasing the mining tax

· 80 percent of non-partisan and third-party registrants supported increasing the mining tax

· 73.5 percent of Republicans supported increasing the mining tax

Apparently, Monte Miller has always taken a liking to Michael Roberson. Would anyone like to guess how and why these numbers are now public? And does anyone doubt Roberson hadn't already taken a look at these numbers?

And to think, less than a month ago even SJR 15 was in a shaky position. Why? One of the dirtiest secrets in Carson City is just how much juice the mining industry has in that town. Could it possibly be due to all the lobbyists and all the campaign contributions?

Yet this month, Roberson and the rest of his "Senate GOP Mod Squad" decided to break away from their former mining industry BFFs. Why? Look above. No, look further above. When even over 70% of rank-and-file Republicans (!!!) support mining tax reform, perhaps knee-jerk opposition to it should be reconsidered... And ultimately dropped.

Of course, Roberson's IP 1 mining tax alternative still faces great hurdles. For one, those mining lobbyists won't be going away any time soon. In addition, it's at best (for him) legally unclear as to whether he can even propose one now. Let's just say that if "The Mod Squad Mining Tax" goes down in flames either in the Nevada Legislature itself or the Nevada Supreme Court, it won't be due to lack of public support.

(But of course, SJR 15 still isn't going away any time soon, either!)

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