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Goldfield Consolidated Mines Co. v. State

December 31, 1912

GOLDFIELD CONSOLIDATED MINES COMPANY, RESPONDENT, V. THE STATE OF NEVADA AND THE COUNTY OF ESMERALDA, APPELLANT.


Appeal from the Seventh Judicial District Court, Esmeralda County; Peter J. Somers, Judge.

Cleveland H. Baker, Attorney-General, and J. Emmitt Walsh, District Attorney of Esmeralda County, for Appellants.

Henry M. Hoyt, for Respondent.

Per Curiam:

This appeal presents the sole question: Is a patented mining claim, on which there has been expended one hundred dollars or more in labor during the year, subject to assessment and taxation in addition to the tax on its net products?

[1] Article 10 of the constitution, as amended by the legislature and ratified by the people at the general election in 1906, reads:

“Section 1. The legislature shall provide by law for a uniform and equal rate of assessment and taxation, and shall prescribe such regulations as shall secure a just valuation for taxation of all property, real, personal and possessory, except mines and mining claims, when not patented, the proceeds alone of which shall be assessed and taxed, and when patented, each patented mine shall be assessed at not less than five hundred dollars ($500) except when one hundred dollars ($100) in labor has been actually performed on such patented mine during the year, in addition to the tax upon the net proceeds; and also excepting such property as may be exempted by law for municipal, educational, literary, scientific or other charitable purposes.”

As originally adopted by the constitutional convention and ratified by the people in 1864, the article read:

“Section 1. The legislature shall provide by law for a uniform and equal rate of assessment and taxation and shall prescribe such regulations as shall secure a just valuation for taxation of all property, real, personal, and possessory, excepting mines and mining claims, the proceeds of which alone shall be taxed, and also excepting such property as may be exempted by law for municipal,

[35 Nev. 178, Page 181]

educational, literary, scientific, religious or charitable purposes.” (Rev. Laws, 352.)

An amendment to article 10, proposed and passed by the legislatures of 1899 and 1901, inserted the following provision in the body of the original section: “But the acreage of patented mining claims shall also be assessed at a valuation of ten dollars per acre.” The vote of the electors at the general election of 1902, in ratifying this amendment, does not appear with certainty to have been officially canvassed, although the book of election returns in the office of the secretary of state appears to show that it received a majority of the votes cast. This amendment, however, is unimportant, save as it may throw some light on the proper construction of the article as it now exists by the amendment approved in 1906.

The legislature of 1909 amended section 5 of the general revenue act (Rev. Laws, 3621) so as to read: “All property of every kind and nature whatsoever, within this state, shall be subject to taxation, except * * * Second—Unpatented mines and mining claims; provided,” etc.

Prior to the amendment of 1909, supra, the exception read: “Second—Mines and mining claims; provided,” etc.

Was the purpose designed to be accomplished by the amendment of article 10 as it now exists to exempt entirely patented mines and mining claims from assessment and taxation, otherwise than upon the net proceeds, where one hundred dollars or more of labor had been expended upon the same during the year; or was it intended that such expenditure might be taken into consideration in making the assessment, and, when made, permit, but not require, a lower assessment than the minimum otherwise required to be assessed? It is appellants' contention that the letter of the provision supports the latter construction. But when the article is considered as a whole, taken in connection with the general policy of the state since its organization, ...


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