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W.Va. House passes bill to reduce steam coal severance tax

February 27, 2019 GMT

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A bill that would reduce the tax on steam coal produced in West Virginia has passed the House of Delegates.

The bill approved on an 88-11 vote Wednesday would change the severance tax from 5 percent to 4 percent effective July 1 and to 3 percent effective July 1, 2020. It now goes to the Senate.

Steam coal is used primarily for electric power generation.

Supporters say the bill would make West Virginia coal more competitive and potentially boost hirings at mines. Opponents say it would reduce state coffers by $60 million and hurt county tax collections. They say the jobs tradeoff isn’t worth it.

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CEO Bob Murray of Ohio-based coal producer Murray Energy has pushed for the bill. Murray Energy has mines in West Virginia and other states.