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Beshear Defends Diverting Coal Tax Revenue

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Gov. Steve Beshear says it is appropriate to divert millions of dollars in coal severance tax money away from the state's coal-producing counties to help with a $456 million budget shortfall.

But Beshear said during a news conference Friday that he was "open" to discussing the issue with state legislators.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported part of Beshear's plan for balancing the state budget is to use about $17.5 million from the coal severance tax. But House Speaker Jody Richards, a Bowling Green Democrat, says that's unfair to coal counties in rural eastern and western Kentucky that have come to rely on that money as a major source of revenue.

The governor says the coal tax proceeds are not already appropriated, and it is appropriate to use them in what he calls "these extraordinary circumstances."

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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader,
http://www.kentucky.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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