Charleston Gazette – Last week, the West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy reported that coal mining and natural gas extraction, two of West Virginia’s largest industries, accounted for 5.5 percent of the state’s total personal income in 2011. By comparison, the federal Medicaid program made up 4.4 percent, Medicare 6.6 percent and Social Security 9.5 percent.
“While Romney and Ryan may scale back some of the EPA’s proposed regulations on air pollution and greenhouse gases, their plans to cut Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid will have a far greater impact on the livelihood of working families in West Virginia than any of Obama’s proposed EPA regulations,” said Ted Boettner, the center’s executive director.
Boettner’s group has been pushing for a small increase in coal and natural gas taxes for a dedicated fund that would pay for educational program, economic development efforts, and infrastructure improvements to help diversify the coalfield economy.Read
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