Illinois has a proud history of coal mining and is the only major coal producing state where production has been on the rise. Yet out of 25 coal producing states, it is one of only three that does not have a coal severance tax. While both direct coal jobs and spin-off employment account for barely 0.2 percent of Illinois jobs, the industry costs the state budget nearly $20 million each year in services, subsidies, grants and economic incentives.
It’s time that Illinois collects a small but important fee from the multi-billion dollar coal companies and shares it with local communities for economic development, environmental clean-up, job training and health care. Given the social, economic and environmental costs of coal to Illinois residents, its time for coal to pay its fair share.