So, what is the impact of the coal industry on Virginia's budget? Downstream Strategies' report concludes:
Overall, when taking all revenues and expenditures into account, we estimate that the total net impact of the coal industry on the Virginia state budget in Fiscal Year 2009 amounted to a net cost to the Commonwealth of $21.9 million.Of course, this net cost to the Commonwealth's budget does not factor in the lasting impact and damage to the environment and our health caused by mountaintop removal coal mining and of the degradation of air and water quality caused by burning coal to generate electricity.
During this session of the General Assembly lawmakers should eliminate tax and other budgetary provisions that make a shrinking coal industry a drain on state finances and concurrently legislators must move Virginia ahead in renewable wind and solar energy. My hopes are not high - typically in Richmond more effort is spent looking backwards rather than forwards - a view promoted by lobbyists of King Coal and Dominion Resources.