On the heels of the Senate passing sweeping tax reform last week, one major coal CEO is warning that the bill will destroy thousands of coal mining jobs, impacting one of President Donald Trump's essential and most touted campaign promises.
Robert Murray, CEO of one of the largest American coal companies, Murray Energy, told CNN: “We won't have enough cash flow to exist. It wipes us out.”
“This wipes out everything that President Trump has done for coal,” Murray said, who, up until this point, has been a strong supporter of the president and his 2016 campaign promise to bring back coal jobs to the United States. According to Murray, the bill is a “mockery” and would only further impede coal mining firms, thanks to a devastating tax hike.
While the Senate tax plan slashes the corporate tax rate, it also eliminates some tax breaks, including exemptions that are critical to the coal industry, according to Murray. The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) remains intact, but new limits on the interest payments that businesses can write off would raise its tax bill by $60 million per year, Murray said.
Murray backed Trump and his promise to “put our coal miners back to work,” even defending him amid mounting criticism over the president's tweets and personal attacks.
“I'm going to tell you something about Mr. Trump that you are not going to believe,” he said in a speech in West Virginia back in April.
“During the election he would upset me so, offending everybody, including women. And I don't condone that. And he was wrong. And I told him so,” Murray said, adding that he believed Trump “cares deeply about people.”
Trump routinely made helping the coal industry a key rallying cry during his often-packed campaign events throughout 2016. “We're going to put the miners and the steelworkers back to work,” Trump said during a rally in September 2016. “Who's a miner? Raise your hand,” Trump asked at another rally in October 2016. “You? You don't look like a miner. A lot of miners. Get ready to go to work.”
Murray refused to state if he was concerned with Trump over the current tax bill. “I know he cares about the coal miners and their jobs,” Murray said.