Stumbo will work to replace coal severance funds

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - House speaker Greg Stumbo says he intends to see that $2.5 million in coal severance tax funds being used to help pay for renovations at Rupp Arena is replaced.

Stumbo told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Thursday that the funding could be replaced when bonds are issued for renovating the facility, "making it more of a loan than a grant."

Officials in Appalachian counties complained about lawmakers' decision to use coal severance taxes for the project.

Kentucky collects a tax on coal that is taken out of the ground, and gives some back to coal-producing counties to assist local governments and help diversify their economies. The amount of money gathered by the tax has declined over the past two years.

Eastern Kentucky officials say the funding is needed for projects there.

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