Bill to end coal tax credits passed by Virginia House

Virginia Politics

View of an unused coal mine at Black Mountain, Virginia, on April 18, 2017.

According to environmental activists, many nearby streams contain unusually high levels of heavy metals coming from the mines. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia House passed a bill Monday that would phase out two costly coal tax credits that a state investigation recently found generate economic losses for the state.

On a 54-45 vote, the chamber approved the measure from Del. Sally Hudson. The bill still must pass the Senate before it can go to the governor. A similar measure in the Senate hasn’t yet received a vote.

The incentives are designed to encourage coal production and coal use and aid the struggling economy of southwest Virginia. A report last year from the state’s legislative watchdog agency found that they have created a net loss for the state.

The report estimated that between fiscal years 2010 and 2018, the Virginia economy lost 35 jobs, $21 million in gross domestic product, and $5 million in personal income because of the credits. During that same period, coal mining companies and electricity generators saved $291.5 million in income taxes, according to the report, which recommended that they be repealed.

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