Coal Severance Tax

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A bill that would reduce the severance tax on coal used by power plants is one step closer to passing.

After much debate Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee passed an amended version of House Bill 3142. The measure, which has already passed the House, now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia House passed a bill Wednesday that would reduce the severance tax paid on coal burned for electricity

 

House Bill 3142 passed on an 88-11 vote after contentious debate on the floor.

Long sought by industry, the legislation would reduce the severance tax paid by coal companies on steam or thermal coal from 5 percent to 4 percent effective July 1 and to 3 percent effective July 1, 2020.

 

 

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Officials say a West Virginia county sheriff's office has hired four deputies after it had $240,000 in budget cuts during the last few years.

Jim Justice
Chris Tilley / AP Photo


West Virginia's Democratic candidate for governor is a billionaire, a philanthropist and a resort and coal mine owner who cites his business and mining experience as major attributes as he seeks to lead his home state out of a severe budget and economic crisis.

"I am not a career politician; I am a career businessman," wrote Jim Justice in an April 5 op-ed that appeared in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House took up a bill Wednesday that would give coal producing counties more control over how they spend those revenues.

House Bill 4668 increases the threshold of coal severance taxes counties can use to pay salaries and employee benefits. State law says only a fourth of those severance dollars can be used to pay personnel, but the bill would increase the allowable share from one-fourth to one-half.  

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

During a session that has largely focused on how lawmakers will close a nearly $400 million budget gap, the Senate will vote on a bill Wednesday that will cut taxes for both the coal and natural gas industries. 

Legislature
Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

West Virginia is looking to drop surtaxes on coal mining and natural gas drilling.

The House voted 96-3 Thursday to approve dropping the additional severance tax of 56 cents per ton of coal and 4.7 cents per thousand cubic feet of natural gas. The Senate previously passed the bill, and still would need to vote on House amendments.

Underground Mine, Miners, Mining
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Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin wants to give struggling coal producers a break by dropping a tax used to pay down a worker's compensation debt.

That debt should be paid off this year. Coal's portion brought in $64 million last budget year.