Rep. Jim Gooch Works to Invest More Money into Kentucky’s Struggling Coal Counties

Currently, coal counties only receive 50% of the tax.

FRANKFORT, Ky. - On Tuesday October 25, 2016, Rep. Jim Gooch, R-Providence, pre-filed a bill designed to aid coal counties who have experienced severe reductions in production and jobs over the last several years.

For this first time in history, Rep. Gooch’s bill would increase the return rate of the coal severance tax to 100% to coal counties. Currently, coal counties only receive 50% of the tax. The bill, B.R. 296, would increase the return rate to counties over five years, beginning in 2019.

“Kentucky’s coal producing counties have been decimated by federal regulations implemented by the Obama Administration,” said Rep. Gooch, whose districts is the largest coal producing district in Kentucky. “Coal is a major industry in my district, and in many others in Kentucky, making it a primary jobs producer. However, due to the ongoing war on coal, one of our signature industries continues to decline, and I won’t stand by silently. This is a solid step that can be taken in 2017.”

Historically, the coal severance tax has been used by counties for local projects and operating expenses. Over the last several years, the reduction of coal has resulted in lower coal severance tax dollars for counties. If Rep. Gooch’s bill were enacted, 100% of coal severance dollars directed to counties would result in higher monetary yields to aid counties with necessary expenses.

“For far too many years the Legislature has taken money from coal counties and used it to support the general fund,” added Rep. Gooch. “It’s time to deliver every single coal severance tax dollar to the counties responsible for generating them, particularly in these difficult times for coal companies, families, and communities.”

The 2017 Regular Session starts in January, and coal economic recovery will be among Rep. Gooch’s main priorities.


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