Coal CEO: Senate tax plan ‘wipes us out’

Coal CEO Robert Murray warns that if the Senate model of tax reform is enacted by President Trump he’ll be destroying 1000’s of coal mining jobs within the course of.

“We can’t have sufficient money circulation to exist. It wipes us out,” Murray instructed CNNMoney in an interview on Tuesday.

Murray, a fierce supporter of Trump’s efforts to revive coal, condemned the Senate invoice as a “mockery” that will inflict a devastating tax hike on beleaguered coal mining companies in addition to different capital-intensive corporations.

“This wipes out every thing that President Trump has performed for coal,” mentioned Murray, the CEO of Murray Vitality, one in all America’s largest coal corporations.

The tax bill the Senate passed final week would assist corporations by decreasing the company tax charge, however it additionally eliminates some tax breaks.

For coal corporations, it might be a double-whammy. It could protect the Different Minimal Tax (AMT) and impose new limits on the curiosity funds that companies can write off. Murray Vitality estimates that these adjustments would increase its tax invoice by $60 million per yr.

The Home invoice eliminates the AMT, one thing that will save Murray Vitality and different corporations cash. The AMT prevents corporations from claiming so many tax credit and deductions that they owe Uncle Sam nothing in any respect.

Like different coal corporations, Murray Vitality borrows closely to pay for its costly mining operations. The Senate invoice would cap the quantity of curiosity funds that may be written off to 30% of an organization’s revenue.

Auto sellers would even have been harmed by the Senate invoice’s curiosity deduction cap. However, after fierce lobbying from auto sellers, the Senate made a last-minute change to the laws that exempts them from the curiosity deduction cap.

Related: Senate bill would allow oil drilling in Alaskan refuge

Murray declined to say if he shared his issues with Trump, who has promised to “put our coal miners again to work” by decreasing environmental rules. Trump attended a West Virginia fundraiser hosted by Murray in June 2016.

“I do know he cares concerning the coal miners and their jobs,” Murray mentioned.

Murray warned chapter of his Ohio-based firm would damage its 5,500 workers together with their households. Requested if different coal mining corporations might exit of enterprise, he mentioned: “Most definitely.”

Roughly half of American coal jobs have disappeared for the reason that finish of 2011 amid a wave of coal bankruptcies, in line with a Columbia University study. The analysis discovered that coal’s decline has been principally attributable to an abundance of cheap natural gas that has led energy vegetation to change away from coal. Regulation, which Trump generally blames for coal’s troubles, additionally damage coal however not by as a lot as pure fuel.

Extra just lately, the coal business has been pressured by declining prices for renewable energy like solar and wind.

Related: John Oliver sued by coal CEO over ‘character assassination’

Murray’s feedback concerning the tax overhaul aren’t the primary time he is made dire predictions about his personal enterprise.

In August, Murray warned that his firm might instantly go bankrupt if the Trump administration did not difficulty an emergency order defending coal-fired energy vegetation from being closed. “Our time is working out. Please struggle for us,” Murray wrote in a letter to the White Home.

The Trump administration in the end rejected the cry for help, deciding there wasn’t sufficient proof to “warrant using this emergency authority.”

Murray instructed CNNMoney that his firm now believes it could possibly survive by ramping up exports. That would protect Murray Vitality from the shutdown of extra U.S. energy vegetation that it provides. “We imagine we will get via it,” he mentioned.

Murray is thought for fiercely defending the coal business. In June, he filed a defamation lawsuit against comedian John Oliver, HBO and CNN proprietor Time Warner (TWX), alleging “character assassination” throughout an episode of “Final Week Tonight.” HBO has filed a movement to dismiss the lawsuit. A listening to on the movement is scheduled for January 10 in West Virginia, in line with an HBO spokesman.

The coal boss has additionally enraged environmentalists by repeatedly denying the dangers posed by local weather change, a stance he repeated on Tuesday.

“Local weather change will not be solely a hoax, it is a fraud,” Murray mentioned.

–CNNMoney’s Lydia DePillis and Chris Isidore contributed to this report.

CNNMoney (New York) First printed December 6, 2017: 5:58 AM ET

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