Manchin’s spending bill guns down coal miners with massive tax hike

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the nation’s second-largest coal producer, backs a spending bill that will more than double some taxes on coal mining.

Section 13901 of the bill, dubbed by Democrats the “Cut Inflation Act of 2022,” raises the tax per ton of coal from underground mines from $0.50 to $1.10 and raises also the strip mining tax from $0.25 to $0.55. The new bill achieves this by amending the tax code and removing a paragraph that reduces the coal production tax.

If the bill passes, the coal tax will remain at the higher rates. Proceeds from the levy will fund the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.

“The bill contains provisions that discourage the use of coal as well as numerous others that give an unfair advantage to alternative energy sources,” Ben Lieberman, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Caller News. Foundation. “There’s virtually nothing in this bill that could drive energy costs down, and quite a few measures that could drive them up.”

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 08: Juvenile Protection Act sponsor Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks to thousands of members of the United Miner Workers of America as they rally for a rally on the National Mall on September 8, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

West Virginia accounted for 13% of the nation’s total coal production, according to the US Energy Information Administration, making it the nation’s second largest coal producer after Wyoming. Coal mining supported nearly 27,000 jobs in West Virginia and was responsible for $2.1 billion in employee compensation in 2019, according to a West Virginia University study.

Coal-fired power plants also accounted for 88% of West Virginia’s net electricity generation in 2020, according to the EIA.

Manchin touted his support for the bill in a press release on Thursday, saying the package would reduce energy costs and boost American energy security.

“This bill would be bad enough even if Americans weren’t dealing with sky-high energy prices right now, but downright shameful given that they are,” Lieberman said.

Manchin’s office did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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