Governor Beshear took time out of his schedule last week to hold a press conference celebrating the 50,000th “Friends of Coal” license plate sold to Kentuckians.
Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett praised Beshear and a group of more than 12 coalfield lawmakers who attended the press conference for supporting the coal industry.
Bissett said the industry has been pleased that so many people have shown support for the coal industry by choosing the black, specialty license plates.
Beshear dialed back his rhetoric — there was no fist banging, screaming tirade against the federal government from the Governor on this happy occassion — but not so House Speaker Greg Stumbo.
Stumbo, channeling all that is great about the Kentucky Democratic Party, clearly defined the real issue and offered up real solutions to poisoned water, lost wealth and ravaged communities.
“To the people who say let’s save mountains: Go buy one,” Stumbo said. “There’s a bunch of them for sale. And if you own it, and you don’t want it mined, guess what, it’s not going to be mined that way.”
There you have it.
Alternately, you could buy a House Speaker. They are for sale, too.
In other news, from the always great Coal Tattoo, we learn that the West Virginia Center for Budget Policy recently broke down the incredible tax burden facing the West Virginia coal industry (PDF).
– In 2008, Wyoming collected approximately $2.1 billion in taxes from coal and natural gas producers, compared to $787 million in West Virginia.
– Wyoming’s average effective tax rate on coal producers was 10.6 percent, compared to 6.5 percent in West Virginia.
– The average effective tax rate on natural gas producers was 10.2 percent in Wyoming and 8.2 percent in West Virginia.
– The average property tax rate for coal and natural producers in Wyoming was 4.8 percent for each industry, while the average property tax rate for natural gas was three percent and one percent for coal in West Virginia.
– If West Virginia replaced its real and personal property tax scheme with Wyoming’s county gross production tax, it would have raised an additional $115 million in 2008.
Going back to Beshear’s press conference for the coal industry, the Governor of Coal said this:
“Coal mining, as I’ve said many times before, is one of the cornerstones of Kentucky’s economy,” Beshear said during a Capitol press conference. “More than 19,000 people work directly at our mine sites with several times more than that number holding jobs indirectly related to the industry.”
Which is awesome because it reminds us of the 2008 study which found that the coal industry provides just 1% of the jobs in Kentucky:
And has an overall negative net impact on the state’s economy of $115 Million thanks to all of us subsidizing their industry (or, as you could maybe put it, ‘Buying the mountains and giving them away):
Play it again, Steve!