Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Conway backs more severance tax money for coal counties

(AP) — Democrat Jack Conway says he would push to return more severance tax money to Kentucky's coal-producing counties if he's elected governor.

His Republican opponent, Matt Bevin, says he would be open to considering a formula change that would give coal counties more revenue but he didn't commit to it. Both candidates acknowledged financial challenges facing Appalachian counties where coal production has dropped sharply.

Bevin and Conway spoke Wednesday to a gathering of local officials from counties that produce coal, oil and natural gas. The downturn in the Appalachian coal economy has become a key issue in statewide elections in Kentucky. Coal severance tax revenue has dropped sharply in recent years.

The two are running in the Nov. 3 election to succeed Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear.