That bore repeating
because, “some legislators are scheming to tax prospective mining operations
before they generate any proceeds.”
The ploy is to levy taxes before any ore is
produced and use the proceeds to train union workers—for the mining jobs whose
creation the tax will most likely prevent. The “reasoning,” to use an
excessively charitable word, is that the mines will become union shops because
operators won’t want to spend money on training if they’ve already paid taxes
But that was not
the only cash grab floating around the Capitol:
Other misguided legislators are angling to replace
the current tax on net mining proceeds with a gross tonnage tax, imagining this
will benefit mining companies. It might, if the economy was roaring and demand
was high. With today’s sluggish economy and thin profits, it makes the mere
thought of launching an enterprise look foolhardy.
As it turns out
some those “misguided legislators” playing around with the idea of a new “tonnage”
tax are Republicans. Sources say that a group of GOPers, including senators
Luther Olsen, Mary Lazich, and Frank Lasee and several others, have expressed support for the
new tax. They are getting significant pushback from other conservative senators,
including newly elected Senator Tom Tiffany, who was elected on a pro-mining
Says one insider:
I'm told that Tiffany
told the caucus he didn't run to raise taxes on companies investing in jobs. [Paul]
Farrow wins the Republican Reality Award for pointing out to the Republican
caucus that last session they passed a 2/3 vote to raise taxes bill to stop
future Democrat leaders from raising taxes. It is a real concern. Wonder what
the Governor would do with the chance to veto his first tax increase.
Why the interest
in the tonnage tax? Apparently some of the senators think it will generate more
revenue faster for the state.
So another reminder is in order: the priority
should be creating jobs, generating investments, growing the economy… not
feeding the coffers of government. Priorities, people.
I do not nor have I ever supported a tonnage tax on mining. As a sponsor of Senate Bill 2 (SB 2) and its companion bill Assembly Bill 2 (AB 2), I do not support taxing any businesses out of Wisconsin. The mining bill is about creating jobs all over Wisconsin and getting Wisconsinites back to work not creating more government red tape.
I hope this clears up any misunderstanding about where I stand on a tonnage tax on mining in Wisconsin.
State Senator Mary Lazich