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."

Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader,

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

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  • by J.K. Location: Pike County on Jan 12, 2009 at 07:10 AM
    NO. I am TOTALLY against using the coal severance tax money to shore up the state's debt. The coal is taken from OUR mountains here in eastern Kentucky and the money should stay here with US and help OUR kids, not diverted to Frankfort and Lexington(U.K. protests against strip mining but not against reaping the rewards!)Talk about whistling out of both sides of your face!!!Why don't you tax a can of beer by a $1.00 like you propose for cigarettes? There's enough drinkers in the state to put us in the black!!!!!! Especially at horse racing events and ball games!!!!!! WE need that money for OUR roads, sewer lines, bridges, parks, and tourism. Coal is our livelihood. The severance money should be put back in OUR community, not somehwhere down state. Use the bourbon money from Louisville to fund your projects. Vote how YOU want, and I'll vote how I want for our state senators and representatives next time around.
  • by Poor Man on Dec 15, 2008 at 07:28 PM
    First thing to ask Mr. Brashear when he comes to Hazard Wednesday, how did the state cut every department between 5-10% last July to cover a projected $450 million shortfall yet manage to create a $455 million shortfall?
  • by k Location: floyd on Dec 15, 2008 at 07:15 PM
    Just another thing to make him a one termer.
  • by Eddie Location: Pike on Dec 15, 2008 at 03:17 PM
    Hey MinersWife and others, go check out this link to see what our money is spent on and how it is spent. Also pay attention to the special reports on this page from the Office of the State Budget Director, such as the receipts report for November that shows General Funds receipts actually INCREASED in November of 08 versus November of 07. They attribute this to weaker collection in 07 than 08. Road Fund receipts are down, and one reason for this, according to the report, is weaker Road-Weight taxage collection (sounds like a job for the KVE and others, right?). But overall receipts increased in November, and I would bet with gas prices lower now, we will continue to see the road fund do better than expected through the rest of the fiscal year (they project 3.4% decline). Here is the link for you all to see:
  • by MinersWife Location: Pikeville on Dec 15, 2008 at 01:13 PM
    For years we haven't seen alot of the coal severance money but we shouldn't have to give up everything our miners have worked for. Why don't they put up the budget for Kentucky and let us see what they spent big money on and why now they want to tax us to death and take money we earned for them and depend on. I need to run for Governor my goodness, I'd fix the state in a hurry and most of it would come from Administrative job cuts that don't need to exist, instead of taxing the people to death and taking what money can help.
  • by Betty Location: Louisville on Dec 15, 2008 at 08:43 AM
    Any and all representatives from Eastern Kentucky should respond with a resounding "NO"!!! Eastern Kentucky depends on this severence funds to keep up their roads. I agree with the respondent that said to tax horse sales!!
  • by Earwig Location: Prestonsburg on Dec 14, 2008 at 10:03 PM
    It is an interesting thing to me that folks in other parts of the state make fun of those of us who live in eastern KY and think that they are somehow better than we are. Yet, they are quick to try to take the funds that by right should stay in eastern KY....Money that funds our county projects etc. Those in Frankfort that represent us should respond with a resounding NO!!!
  • by Anonymous on Dec 14, 2008 at 04:59 PM
    have these counties been getting this money all along? i am a very young adult from knott co and i don't know what they have been doing with our part.. these counties need this money or is this the money that helps the rich while the poor starves. my dad worked the mines for many years, these men work hard and risk their lives and you want to take their money. shame on you..
  • by bill Location: knox on Dec 14, 2008 at 10:14 AM
    the fire depts also depend on that money thank the gov when we cant afford to come and put the fire out or extricate u out of your car
  • by Roger Location: Hazard on Dec 14, 2008 at 07:22 AM
    The burden is always put on the coal industry. Wonder why our governor doesn't propose a sales tax on horse sales at Keeneland. The horse industry gets a free ride because it's always take from the poor and give to the rich.
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