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Gas and coal firms should do their part



I’ve lived in eastern Kentucky my entire life and I am raising my family here. I see other young families who care about their community, and also want to keep their families here. We need new ideas and investments in our county.

There are special challenges that come with shaping the future economy in eastern Kentucky. It’s time we talk about who can afford to be taxed more, and who cannot.

The Letcher County Fiscal Court has a tremendous opportunity to generate new revenue for the county. The business-licensing fee on resource extraction could annually raise millions towards the county’s general fund. This tax could create jobs and provide services, while not digging into the pockets of working families here at home.

The energy industry should pay their fair share of taxes. Corporations have made millions from the natural resources of eastern Kentucky. Based on severance taxes from 2002-2012, $540 million was extracted in natural gas from Letcher County. That is an average of $54 million per year.

The proposed fee of $2,500 a year per well is nothing to big energy companies. The demand for natural gas will be steady for years to come. Energy companies should invest in the communities where they extract resources. It’s fair, and it’s the right thing to do.

This fiscal court should pass this business-licensing fee because natural gas, coal and quarry companies can afford this tax, but the citizens of Letcher County cannot.

SARA ESTEP Mayking



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