The state House last week passed a bill that allows coal companies to benefit from the 10-year tax abatements and 20-year income-tax credits that state and local governments use to attract industries. The coal industry is dirty and dangerous, and the pollutants coal companies emit make it harder for the state to attract more valuable industries. Why in the world are we trying to attract coal companies to Alabama, one might ask?
A partial answer comes from looking at the benefactors of the sponsor of HB144. Rep. Bill Roberts, R-Jasper, last year received $1,000 from ENPAC. Shortly before ENPAC made the contribution to Roberts, it received contributions from C&H Mining and Reed Minerals.
If he has received recent contributions relevant to his coal legislation, we won’t know it until Jan. 31, 2013. He and other legislators are only required to make annual disclosures until the 12 months before their elections.
Already this session, Roberts has filed four bills that benefit coal companies.