The details are murky and muddled. The report at this link explains some of it, the worst part being;
The Nevada mining industry is now under pressure from a petition being circulated by labor unions, conservation groups, teachers’ unions and others which would remove constitutional protections for taxation of Nevada mining. A district court judge Monday estimated the change in language would increase Nevada mining taxation by 300%.
But this threat by organized voters pushing direct democracy in an attempt to emulate California where the ballot produces strange and sometime inequitable outcomes, is but a part of a bigger Nevada mining fiasco:
The Nevada Mining Association Tuesday asked a Mineweb reporter to leave a meeting in which geologists, lobbyists, elected officials, executives from other mining and trade associations, and their spouses were present to discuss a serious breach that has developed between independent and junior mining company geologists and major mining companies who are members of the NvMA. Members of the Geological Society of Nevada (GSN) invited Mineweb to attend a meeting which they believed was a public meeting to discuss the decision of major mining companies with Nevada operations to agree to one-time mining claims fees aimed at helping to bail the state of Nevada out of its multi-million-dollar budget shortfall. The issue has become so heated that independent geologists throughout Nevada are now trying to organize in a backlash against a backroom deal made by lobbyists representing the NvMA during a special session of the Nevada Legislature earlier this month.
I cannot work out if the agreement by the big Nevada mining companies to pay a fee is a pale attempt to bribe the Nevada legislature into vetoing, or otherwise killing, the proposed ballot initiative. Certainly a one-time fee paid by all mining companies, big and small, would be preferable to a perpetual increase in taxes. For the big mining companies, it would be a bargain; particularly if unwilling, small mining companies had to cough up much of the fee.
At a time when the Nevada mining industry is under attack, it is sad to see a house divided, and ready to fall, because self-interest is taking precedence over industry-wide concerns and potential costs. I would have though the best course would be to get the many voices of the small guys in sync with the big guys and thus to present a common face to the hostile forces.
Or is this what we mean by Republican concern for business: big business first, and let small business suffer their fate. A kind of 2010 Darwinian social survival contest? Kind of like: let the uninsured die–we have decent health insurance and do not care to share.
As an avid believer in Nevada mining–really the best place in the USA to mine and in which to invest your mining investments, I am a supporter of anything Nevada mining can do to make more money and pay higher dividends.
I grieve, however, for my family members (by acceptance, not blood) who live in Las Vegas and who are out of work because the economy is bad and jobs scarce. I know they need all the help they can get–even as small a thing as balancing a state budget should, in theory, help. Whether it does so in practice, is a different issue. But even family emotion cannot persuade me that the mining industry should be raided to make it easy for them–for they have failed to get the education they have the potential for, and they have failed to hone the skills needed to be wanted in a tight labor market. And certainly their fate cannot persuade me it is in the best interests of the unemployed, the Nevada mining industry, the big guys, or the juniors to indulge in smoke-filled, back-room bribery of politicians. Come on miners, politicians are the slipperiest folk you can imagine: they will change as fast as the wind, the dust that blows the desert, and the mood of the electorate in a wave of unemployment.
This is just another of the ugly things that accompany a nation that is in economic straights brought on by excess. We are seeing reports of too many ugly things, too much human anger, too much incivility, to let the mining industry join the ugly parade of ugly meanness. Not that my word counts for anything, but one small voice for the Nevada mining industry to stand together. Recall Ex Unitate Vires.