Would Assembly Democrats be crazy/dumb enough to take a bribe to kill SJR15?

Would Assembly Democrats really trade an extra $50 million or so from mining to kill SJR 15, the resolution taking the industry’s tax policy out of the Constitution?

I don’t think they are that dumb or short-sighted, but I don’t want to bet my stash of gold bars on it.

Nevertheless, the conversation did take place, Nevada Mining Association President Tim Crowley confirmed. Here’s what he tells me:

The exchange apparently began as bar talk late last week between some mining lobbyists (Crowley not among them) and Assembly Majority Leader William Horne.  The issue was the 2 percent rate on the payroll tax proposed by state Senate Democrats as part of their so-called bridge plan to fund education now.

Crowley said that mining opposes the MBT increase, but some industry lobbyists wondered to Horne, as Crowley characterized it, “How badly do you want it? What’s in it for us? Perhaps SJR 15 should die? If you are going to stick it to us, give us something on the back end.”

Crowley said he was surprised to hear about the conversation, believing there is “zero appetite” among Assembly Democrats to entomb SJR 15. “It’s not going anywhere,” he told me.

But, Crowley added, he did approach Horne on Saturday to gauge the seriousness of the dialogue and doesn’t believe any differently after that conversation. “I’m pretty convinced that there’s no way that his caucus will say, ‘Let’s take cash for SJR 15 dying.”

At first, Horne played coy when I asked him about the conversations: "Obviously, the mining industry would rather SJR15 not pass.  They have been speaking with leadership about general tax packages since the beginning of session, that’s it."

But when I told him I knew about his chat with Crowley about the potential exchnage, the majority leader put it back on the mining lobbyist:  "Well, if that’s what Crowley meant during our conversation on Saturday, he needs to be less cryptic."

Uh huh.

Whatever happened, it ain't happening unless the Democrats have even more of a death wish than I imagined.

Let me remind everyone -- again:

Despite mining's assertions -- and there may be a legal fight over this -- that SJR 15 could have the net impact of allowing the industry to lower its tax bill, all of Democrats who were there in 2011 voted for SJR 15 and would have a hard time explaining the flip-flop to their constituents.

Just in case anyone has forgotten, here's the 2011 Roll Call -- it was 27-15.



Paul Aizley Yea
  Elliot Anderson Yea
  Kelvin Atkinson Yea
  Teresa Benitez-Thompson Yea
  David Bobzien Yea
  Steven Brooks Yea
  Irene Bustamante Adams Yea
  Maggie Carlton Yea
  Richard Carrillo Yea
  Marcus Conklin Yea
  Richard (Skip) Daly Yea
  Olivia Diaz Yea
  Marilyn Dondero Loop Yea
  John Ellison Nay
  Lucy Flores Yea
  Jason Frierson Yea
  Edwin Goedhart Nay
  Pete Goicoechea Nay
  Tom Grady Nay
  John Hambrick Nay
  Scott Hammond Nay
  Ira Hansen Nay
  Cresent Hardy Nay
  Pat Hickey Nay
  Joseph Hogan Yea
  William Horne Yea
  Marilyn Kirkpatrick Yea
  Randy Kirner Nay
  Kelly Kite Nay
  Pete Livermore Nay
  April Mastroluca Yea
  Richard McArthur Nay
  Harvey Munford Yea
  Dina Neal Yea
  John Oceguera Yea
  James Ohrenschall Yea
  Peggy Pierce Yea
  Tick Segerblom Yea
  Mark Sherwood Yea
  Debbie Smith Yea
  Lynn Stewart Nay
  Melissa Woodbury Nay



(Image from The Accidental Entrpreneur.)