Virginia Governor Questions Continuance of Tax Subsidies for Failing Coal Companies FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Alicia Petska for the Roanoke Times:The state’s coal employment tax credit — which cost the state an estimated $28.4 million last year— is due to sunset at the end of December. Southwest Virginia lawmakers are again pushing to reset that clock and extend the program by three to five years.But Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who vetoed extension bills last year, is renewing his concerns about the program.McAuliffe, pointing in part to the findings of a 2012 study, has called for revamping how the state funnels money into the coalfield region’s economic development.“I’ve been pretty vocal on the coal tax credit. It hasn’t worked,” he told reporters after an event Friday. “We’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars on it, and we’ve still lost a lot of jobs. I’ve got to protect taxpayer dollars. I’ve got to invest our tax dollars so we can grow our economy.”But the coal companies who have come to rely on the industry tax break — one of the larger ones the state offers — are pleading with lawmakers not to kill the program.“This is absolutely key to our survival, and we’re in a survival mode,” Donnie Ratliff of Alpha Natural Resources, which declared bankruptcy last summer, told a House subcommittee during a hearing Friday.Virginia offers two major tax credits targeted at the coal industry. One benefits coal mine operators while another is used by power companies that purchase coal — though portions of the second can be shifted to mine operators.The tax credits were created to slow the decline of Virginia’s coal industry, but a 2012 Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission study questioned whether they were succeeding.Coal production has continued to plummet, it found, and mining jobs have disappeared at faster-than-projected rates. In 1988, Virginia had over 11,100 coal jobs, according to the state’s finance office. Today, only about 2,800 remain.That was despite the state plowing over $610 million into coal tax credits during that period.Glen Besa, state director for the Sierra Club, contended it would be short-sighted of Virginia to continue banking so heavily on coal and subsidizing companies like Alpha Natural Resources, which he criticized for filing for bankruptcy and then seeking permission to pay millions of dollars in executive bonuses.The state’s coal production is only going to continue to decline, Besa said.“When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you should do is stop digging,” he said. “There’s no question that coal has run this country for over 100 years, and the people that mine that coal should be respected. But we should be finding ways to help those people and that region make the transition away from coal.”Full article: McAuliffe, lawmakers argue over coal tax credits
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 9-year-old Baldwin girl was fatally attacked by a Pitbull in Elmont over the weekend, Nassau County police said.Two officers responded to a 911 call reporting a dog attacking a child in the backyard of a Holland Avenue home, where upon arrival, they found the dog attacking the victim, Amiyah Dunston, at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, police said.When a third officer walked through the house and opened the back door, the dog stopped attacking the girl and charged toward the officer, who fired several gunshots, killing the dog, police said.The victim, who was visiting the home at the time of the incident, was taken to Franklin Hospital, where she died three hours later.The owner of the dog, 29-year-old Carlyle Arnold of Elmont, was arrested on an unrelated charge of violation of an order of protection.
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