In response to an article they ran earlier this week on Appalachia 45 years after Kennedy's "War on Poverty" visit (which we linked on our Facebook page) the Hazard Herald has written another editorial in support of a permanent fund for coal severance tax. Here's an excerpt of what they have to say (you can read the whole editorial at their website):
Though poverty rates have significantly declined since 1972, rates in Central Appalachia remain well above the state and national averages, and today two things are very clear to us: One, not enough coal severance is coming back to the counties most impacted by coal mining, and two, in some cases, the taxes that are trickling back to the coal counties are not being used wisely….
Often we hear our elected leaders make remarks about conserving for future generations. Here is a perfect example, and an opportunity for our coal counties to actually build wealth and capacity over the years from which our children can benefit….
Considering all of this — the projected decline in coal severance revenue, ongoing poverty in Appalachian coal counties, and a disproportionate amount of severance never making its way back to the coal counties — it makes even more sense now to begin putting some funds back for future use. Our region has suffered for too long from poor decisions; it’s time now to make a wise one.