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Mining for Higher Taxes

Senate Higher-Taxation Committee Chairman Bob Coffin has the mining industry in his sights.

“Mining will be taxed,” Coffin guarantees in a Las Vegas Review-Journal story today, “but so will a lot of other businesses, and individuals, too.”

Hmm, I wonder if they’ll all be “temporary” taxes.

Actually, it’s hard to feel sorry for the mining industry – though we will remain opposed to any increase in the taxes mining pays without a commensurate decrease in taxes paid by others. As reporter Ed Vogel notes in the story, mining supported an effort to screw all businesses in Nevada with a new business profits tax back in 2003. So now that the tax-hikers are targeting mining, mining isn’t likely to find many sympathetic ears in the general business community.

In addition, mining’s Chicken Little complaining isn’t likely to persuade anyone. Tim Crowley, President of the Nevada Mining Association, ominously warns that proposed efforts to eliminate some tax deductions the mining industry currently enjoys “would simply put us out of business.”

Oh, puh-lease. As long at there’s gold in them thar hills, somebody’s gonna be mining to get it out. And it’s not like the mining industry can just pick up its drills and move to Topeka. They mine in Nevada because what mining wants to mine is in Nevada.

Mining’s argument that higher taxation will hurt their industry and might push some operators beyond the breaking point would elicit a lot more sympathy from us if mining had applied the same argument back in 2003 instead of backing efforts to do to those businesses what is being proposed be done to mining this year.

This is what happens when you’re not philosophically consistent. Seems mining is about to be hoisted on its own petard.