CARSON CITY — In the anti-tax world, the Tea Party in Nevada might have one thing in common with progressives who want to raise taxes.
Both say industries that get special treatment or have special provisions written for them in the constitution should not have those advantages.
Senate Democrats are sponsoring Senate Joint Resolution 15, a constitutional amendment that would remove mining industry benefits currently written into the state constitution.
For fiscal conservatives or free market enthusiasts, entitlements and preferential treatment, whether for citizens or corporations, are anathema.
“Personally I don’t like one group being taxed differently and being given exemptions that are different than everybody else,” said Carol Howell, who works with the Republican Central Committee in Carson City and attended today’s Tea Party rally at the Legislature. “I’m a flat tax person. I believe everybody should be taxed equally.”
This legislative session, legislators have gone after the tax exemptions and breaks that the mining industry gets.
Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, said that the “special” treatment mining receives is wrong, and he would vote to pass SJR 15.
The notion that certain businesses should get breaks, though, is by no means universal among the various Tea Party-affiliated groups.
Janine Hansen of the American Eagle Forum said that mining keeps her rural community afloat. She said removing its exemptions would potentially hurt the local economy.
“I think we could re-look at mining and is it a fair share, but we’ve got to be careful about hurting jobs and the economy,” said Charlene Bybee of 912 Nevadans, a Tea Party-affiliated group.
The discord illustrates a split among the groups at today’s rally, which brought about 250 people to the steps of the Legislature to call for legislators to hold the line on tax increases, cut government spending and pass Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed general fund budget.
The binding tie between progressives and Tea Party frays when examined further.
Although each group may have the same means to an end, the final outcome is different. Progressive groups like PLAN want to remove the constitutional protections the mining industry has.
Fiscal conservatives or free market libertarians want to remove constitutional protections as a means to achieving the larger goal of having an equal tax system for all.
Howell said she attended several meetings sponsored by progressives about the mining industry.
“I attended a couple of them,” she said “It took them about 30 minutes for them to realize I was not one of them.”