Thirty of the state’s counties, including the mining-heavy areas Boone, Logan and Kanawha, will see revenue from coal severance taxes paid by every West Virginia mine reallocated in 1% increments over the next five years beginning July 1, 2012.
Ultimately, Senate Bill 1002 will direct an additional 5% of the taxes back into the counties’ budgets by 2017.
The revenue will go into a special earmark, the Coal County Reallocated Severance Tax Fund, for economic development and infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges and water and sewer repair projects.
SB 1002 caps the amount distributed to the counties at $US20 million per year.
“West Virginia is enjoying a stable economy at a time of uncertainty elsewhere in the nation,” Tomblin said.
“This dedicated revenue will allow the counties whose natural resources are contributing to the health of our state’s economy a greater share of the benefits those resources provide.”
According to the West Virginia Coal Association’s Coal Facts report released earlier this year, West Virginia was once again second in US coal production in 2009 behind Wyoming. Its top producing county was Boone, with just over 27.3 million tons of output.
Based exclusively on underground production, Marion County was tops in the state with more than 11.5Mt produced during that year, the latest time period for which data is available.
Boone County’s 2009 underground tonnage in 2009 totaled 11Mt.
Consol Energy was West Virginia’s top producing corporate group with 29.7Mt and its Consolidation Coal arm was the leading coal producing company with 15.6Mt.
Total direct employment across the Appalachian state in 2009 was 20,453, with Boone County tops in staffing numbers with 3785.
Approximately 30 West Virginia counties are home to at least one coal operation.