Politics
7:00 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Kentucky House Committee Approves Tax Incentives for Declining Coal Industry

Credit Decumanus / Wikimedia Commons

A Kentucky House committee  has passed a bill to give new tax incentives to Kentucky’s coal industry.

The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee has unanimously passed a bill that sponsor Rep. Rocky Adkins says would provide tax rebates to coal companies on new machinery and investment.

Adkins says his bill is designed to retain jobs in the beleaguered coal industry, which employs its lowest number of workers since 1927.

Related: Hollowed Mountains, Now Hollowed Towns: Coal in Eastern Kentucky

But Adkins says the industry is still worth supporting.

“I don’t think coal is on its last leg," he says. "I think low-cost energy helped build the industrial manufacturing sector of this nation. It helped build America. And from the industrial manufacturing sector came the blue-collar middle-class.”

Adkins, a Sandy Hook Democrat, says the breaks are similar to incentives enjoyed by car manufacturing plants in the state and reduce economic strain on the industry.

“Those are everything from sales tax credits on the materials, pieces and parts it takes to build an assembly line, or put the pieces and parts in whatever operation or manufacturer or industrial complex that it may be, whether it be at AK Steel in the Ashland area, whether it be at Toyota or Ford," he says. "That’s going on at Toyota and Ford as we speak.”

Kentucky gave nearly $570 million in incentives to the coal industry in 2012 alone, according to The New York Times.

The bill now heads to the House floor.