Whitesburg KY
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Severance tax projects result of Combs’s bill

A bill sponsored by Rep. Leslie Combs is being credited with enabling projects funded by the state’s coal severance tax to sail through the House and Senate last week.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in water and sewer improvements, and projects affecting education, public safety, roads, senior citizens, tourism, libraries, community centers, and other economic development were added to Combs’s House Bill 410 on the last regular day of the 2008 session of the General Assembly.

“I am very proud that House Bill 410 was the vehicle used to pass these much needed projects out of both chambers,” said Combs, a Pikeville Democrat who represents most of Letcher County. “I worked hard on this bill and have been told that it is an incredible accomplishment for a legislator to have pulled off in her first term.”

House Bill 410 gives statutory authority to the legislature to administer coal severance funding.

“I believe this bill strengthens the legislative role in line item projects and expedites the funding for those projects that we do line item,” Combs said Monday.

House Bill 410, passed by the House by a vote of 83-10 and the Senate by a vote of 38-0, includes $150 million in bond funding from coal severance and tobacco funds for water and sewer projects and $231 million federal Garvey bond funding for bridge projects, as well as line-item coal severance projects.

“If I had not raised awareness, and this bill had not received a lot of attention from county judges, we would not have acquired as many water and sewer projects as we have in Letcher, Harlan and Pike counties, and all Kentucky coal-producing counties,” said Combs. “I believe House Bill 410 will be remembered as landmark legislation in the years to come.”

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