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Sun Dec 15, 2019, 06:50 AM

Watchdog Group Calls Decreased Tax On Coal A 'Blatant Subsidy' For The Coal Industry

A new report from the nonpartisan budget watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense says that an expired coal tax is effectively a taxpayer subsidy for the coal industry. The analysis reflects a growing concern about the fiscal health of a federal fund that supports tens of thousands of disabled coal miners.

The Black Lung Disability Trust Fund was established in 1969 to pay health care expenses for certain disabled coal miners and their dependents. It is supported by coal companies, which pay a limited tax on each ton of coal they remove from the ground. Early this year, Congress allowed the tax to decrease by more than 50 percent. The Government Accountability Office found the move would leave the fund $15 billion in debt by 2050, and would likely require a bailout by taxpayers.

In the report, Taxpayers for Common Sense says the move is an effective subsidy of the coal industry, which already receives significant formal subsidization at the state and federal levels.

“Because congress has failed to take action to keep rates current with what the fund needs to be solvent, taxpayers are now shouldering the burden of the cost of this fund, instead of the coal industry,” said Autumn Hanna, vice president for Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Read more: https://www.wvpublic.org/post/watchdog-group-calls-decreased-tax-coal-blatant-subsidy-coal-industry

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