W.Va. lawmakers OK bill to drop coal, natural gas surtax

The Associated Press

West Virginia is looking to drop surtaxes on coal mining and natural gas drilling. The surtaxes have helped pay a workers' compensation debt for years.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia is looking to drop surtaxes on coal mining and natural gas drilling.

The House voted 96-3 Thursday to approve dropping the additional severance tax of 56 cents per ton of coal and 4.7 cents per thousand cubic feet of natural gas. The Senate previously passed the bill, and still would need to vote on House amendments.

The surtaxes have helped pay a workers' compensation debt for years.

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin proposed dropping the two levies.

The surtaxes would be effective July 1, leaving the governor the option to eliminate them earlier.

Tomblin's administration expects it would cost $51.5 million in lost coal revenue and $58.1 million lost from natural gas in the 2017 budget year.

Standard severance taxes on coal and natural gas wouldn't be affected.

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