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Coal, natural gas to get tax break in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has approved tax breaks for West Virginia’s coal and natural gas industries.

The Democrat signed a bill Monday dropping additional severance taxes of 56 cents per ton of coal and 4.7 cents per thousand cubic feet of natural gas.

The surtaxes have helped pay a workers’ compensation debt for years.

Tomblin proposed dropping the two levies, and the Republican-led Legislature passed Tomblin’s bill.

They would disappear July 1. Tomblin also can eliminate them earlier.

The bill permits using the money until July 1 to help balance this year’s $384 million budget gap.

Tomblin’s administration expects it would cost $51.5 million in lost coal revenue and $58.1 million lost from natural gas in the 2017 budget year.

Standard severance taxes on coal and natural gas aren’t affected.

In related news, West Virginia Senate OKs bill to limit nuisance lawsuits.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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