By JONATHAN MATTISE
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Already set for a break, ailing West Virginia coal is making a late-game plea for a bigger tax cut.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed a bill Monday dropping a 56-cent-per-ton coal surtax by July at the latest, worth $51.5 million in the 2017 budget. It has helped pay a workers’ compensation debt for years.
Later Monday, senators began pushing for an overall coal severance tax from 5 to 4 percent in July 2017, and 3 percent in July 2018. Tomblin’s administration estimated more than a $100 million cost.
It was amended Tuesday to give natural gas a break.
The proposal requires a Senate vote by Wednesday. Democratic senators worried it would hamstring future state budgets and reduce revenue for coal-producing counties.
The state expects a $466 million 2017 budget gap.
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