As recently reported, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC’s) most recent edition of “Rich States Poor States”, Kentucky ranks in at an abysmal 39th out of the 50 states for its level of economic competitiveness and economic outlook. This does not bode well for the thousands of Kentuckians hoping the Bluegrass State will soon attract desperately needed businesses and jobs from our business-friendly neighbors in Indiana and Tennessee.
One detail of the report that should not be missed, especially considering the Environmental Protection Agency’s continuing onslaught against Kentucky coal, is that Kentucky ranks 10th out of the 50 states for its proportion of total revenue that comes from severance taxes. And where do these severance taxes come from? This invaluable source of state revenue comes from the productive capability of Kentucky’s most valuable natural resource – coal.
So what will happen if the EPA has its way and succeeds in sucking the economic vitality out of Kentucky’s energy sector? How will the Commonwealth recover after losing one of its most consistent sources of revenue? And what kind of opportunities will await for the thousands of displaced miners and the four million denizens of the Bluegrass state who rely on the cheap energy rates provided by coal?
Kentuckians must continue to stand up for state sovereignty over their energy sector.