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Ky. mountain lawmakers want to keep coal money at home

Jul. 12, 2013 @ 10:50 AM

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Two lawmakers representing Kentucky's Appalachian region say they will again push the Legislature to pass a longshot measure that would require the state to send all coal tax revenue generated in mining counties back to those counties.

The proposal by Democratic state Reps. Leslie Combs of Pikeville and Fitz Steele of Hazard would leave a huge hole in the state budget, making it unlikely to survive when lawmakers convene early next year. A similar measure failed earlier this year.

The lawmakers said Kentucky's coal-producing counties are hurting financially and need the coal severance tax revenue.

State Budget Director Jane Driskell reported Wednesday that coal severance tax revenue declined by nearly $68 million to $230 million last fiscal year. She blamed weak coal prices and reduced production for the decline.