Charleston Gazette-Mail – Having already removed the “excess” severance tax on the coal and gas industries, the West Virginia Senate wants to give even larger tax cuts to the extractive industries, potentially blowing a massive hole in the 2018 state budget.
The bill (SB 705) passed a procedural barrier on a party-line vote, 18-16 on Monday. Every Republican voted for the tax cut, every Democrat voted against it. It is scheduled for a final Senate vote on Wednesday, the deadline by which legislation must pass at least one chamber of the Legislature.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said he opposed the tax cuts Tuesday, after the state Senate advanced a bill that would cut severance taxes on both the coal and gas industries by 40 percent by 2018.
The state currently taxes coal at a rate of 5 percent of the total value of coal mined and processed. The Senate bill would cut that rate to 4 percent beginning in July 2017 and then cut it again, to 3 percent, beginning in July 2018.
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