“While April revenues were slightly negative overall, both the sales and individual income taxes were strong–an indication that the state economy is expanding in a manner consistent with our latest projections,” Lassiter said in a statement. Sales tax collections grew by 4.3% in April and individual income tax receipts rose by 2.2%.
However, the sharpest decline was in collections from the coal severance tax, which fell by more than 26%. That’s a particularly troublesome number because it equates both to lost state revenue and to lost jobs in the coalfields, said Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett.
The tax on mined coal generates nearly $250 million a year for state government. Bissett said coal companies were hit by a double whammy: difficulties in getting permits to open new mines and a mild winter that required less electricity to heat homes. “In many ways, it is a perfect storm that’s impacting our ability to mine coal and pushing down the price of that coal,” Bissett said.