Proposed Fossil Fuel Tax Gets Refocus In Illinois

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BENLD, IL----As Illinois continues without a state budget, a proposed tax is getting attention once again.

A proposed tax on fossil fuels extracted from Illinois soils is being eyed as a method to help fund the financially strapped state general revenue coffers. An environmental group called Community Futures Initiative is reaching out to current and former coal communities throughout Illinois, trying to gather support for such a tax.

The group's idea is to convince lawmakers to introduce legislation next year, following the critical election cycle. Research done by the group suggests the tax could have raised $141 million last year alone.

Coal officials disagree that the plan is the right approach. They say the new tax could cripple an already-reeling industry, and would not put a very big dent in the state's budget problem.

Illinois is one of three coal-producing states that do not collect excise taxes on fossil fuels.

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