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Senate gives final approval to coal severance tax reduction

Coal seam at Peabody's North Antelope Rochelle Mine
Peabody Energy

A bill that will reduce Wyoming’s coal severance tax by half a percent was approved by the Wyoming Senate. House Bill 105 gives a $10 million a year tax break for coal in an effort to keep the industry competitive. But some doubt the break would help anyone, including Senate Minority Leader Chris Rothfuss.

“If we had any confidence that this would be new investment in the state of Wyoming, ten million dollars of new investment in industry in this state, bringing people back to work, buying new equipment, then we could see justification because there would be a return for these people that worked hard,” said Rothfuss.

Gillette Sen. Jeff Wasserburger said it will help the industry and he added that the legislature is giving them a thank you.

“To an industry that provided $555 million in fiscal year 2020 to this state. This industry has built this state’s schools and we’re proud of that,” said Wasserburger. “This industry provides millions of dollars to us here on this floor.”

But despite the loss of $10 million a year out of state revenues, the bill passed. After a conference committee irons out differences, it will be on its way to the governor.

Bob Beck retired from Wyoming Public Media after serving as News Director of Wyoming Public Radio for 34 years. During his time as News Director WPR has won over 100 national, regional and state news awards.
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