Assemblyman Andy Matthews of District 37 made the following remarks on the floor of the Assembly on Monday, May 31, 2021, in opposition to Assembly Bill 495, which implements enormous new taxes on Nevada’s mining industry:
I rise in strong opposition to Assembly Bill 495, and I think it’s important for me to explain to my colleagues in this room, to my constituents in District 37, and to all Nevadans why that is.
The fact is, we simply do not need this tax increase, or any tax increase. Not on mining. Not on gaming. Not on construction. Not on our financial institutions. Not on our retailers, manufacturers, truckers, auto dealers, union workers, public sector workers or private sector workers.
Make no mistake: Enacting this tax increase will do serious damage to one of Nevada’s most important industries. It will kill jobs. It will hurt Silver State workers and families.
And it will do all that without accomplishing its supposedly intended goals.
We’re told this tax hike is necessary to improve our education system. But the reality is that over the past 60 years, Nevada has tripled public education spending on a per-pupil, inflation-adjusted basis. And yet, as the fact that we’re even having this debate today proves, that system continues to fail our children. Simply spending more money, without enacting any structural reforms or accountability measures, has never solved our educational problems. And it won’t do so this time, either.
To my colleagues in the minority party, I say this: The idea that we might accept a compromise, in which we’d support a tax increase in exchange for concessions so modest as to be insulting, is simply astonishing to me.
Let’s not forget: The majority party forced our state’s mining industry into its current position. We did not.
If the majority wants to support a destructive tax increase, when we’re already receiving billions in new money from the federal government, and when our economy is still recovering from the Governor’s shutdown … then let them own it, and let them own it alone.
Why would we choose to be complicit in that decision? Why would we choose to be complicit in an irresponsible tax hike that singles out a specific industry for punishment? If the majority wants to support that, let them do it.
I know policymaking is about compromise. But compromising to help the majority party enact this unnecessary, single-industry, targeted tax hike is, in my opinion, the wrong way to go.
To my friends in the minority, I want to remind you that we fought so hard last election cycle to convince voters that we had to take the supermajority away in this house, so that we could stop destructive tax hikes. We continue to claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility, and said we’d fight for that principle.
The voters responded in 2020, and gave us that opportunity and that authority.
We should not sign off on this measure. We should reject it not only because doing so would mean remaining true to the principles we claim to hold, but also because saying NO to this tax increase is the right thing to do for our state and its citizens.
I urge my colleagues to put principle over politics, and to join me in opposing Assembly Bill 495. Thank you.