BILLINGS – Coal industry declines are hurting funding for libraries and other programs.
The Billings Gazette reports coal mining is down by 7 million tons through June compared with the first half of last year.
Montana’s Department of Revenue says the fiscal year ended in June with $7.3 million less collected in coal taxes.
Declining coal mine royalties caused Crow Tribe layoffs.
Coal taxes contribute about $500,000 annually to the state’s libraries. Losses will be covered by reducing spending on databases.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the country’s electricity produced from coal is down to 29 percent from over 40 percent eight years ago.
Montana collected $1.75 billion in taxes last year, and coal revenue accounted for a small percentage.
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