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GOP Senate Majority leaders will not support mine tonnage tax

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin Senate’s majority leader says he will not support any tax on mining companies, as part of a bill to encourage a new iron ore mine in the far north.

Scott Fitzgerald told members of the state’s largest business group Wddnesday that some members of his own Republican Party want a so-called “tonnage tax.”

It would force mining companies to pay fees according to how much in minerals they extract.

Fitzgerald refused to say who in his caucus supported the tax. But he said there’s no way Governor Scott Walker will raise any taxes – and it would be a signal that lawmakers don’t want mining.

Fitzgerald said some Republicans fear that a mine may not generate enough other tax revenues, so they’re pushing for a tonnage tax to make sure local communities get something.

Republicans are trying for the second time in two years to get Gogebic Taconite to build a new iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties, by relaxing certain environmental protections and preventing public challenges to DNR mining decisions.

The GOP says the state and the region badly needs jobs, while Democrats say it would hurt the environment too much.

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