(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.