|from Joost J. Bakker lJmuiden on flickr|
The decline may be starting. The Charleston Daily Mail reported, earlier this week, that the coal severance tax is expected to decline in the coming year.
The official forecast predicts coal severance tax collections will decline to $519 million in the fiscal year that began July 1. The forecast was made in December.As much as coal employs the state, it also hurts it. The industry gives several people jobs, and allows many to continue the rich family tradition of working in the mines. Sometimes its customary for a son to follow in his father's footsteps and enter into the mines for a living (and a decent wage at that). However, this tradition is something that won't be around forever. No, coal will one day be gone and the state will be left struggling to find other forms of revenue and employment if they don't act accordingly.
"Even though total severance tax collections for the first three months of this fiscal year are up by nearly 19 percent over last year, there are signs of an emerging trend of slower collection growth on the near-term horizon," Muchow said.
Marcellus shale, as mentioned in my last post, is supposed to be a similar boon to the economy. However, the natural gas pulled from under the rock is not permanent either. West Virginia needs to be considering investing in alternative energy and clean ways of powering the state. More investment in things like the Beech Ridge Wind Farm, and focusing on ways to employ the hard workers of West Virginia