Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy, and his company made major campaign contributions to Donald Trump and the Republican Party last year. Open Secrets tells us:
(U)sing its corporate coffers and its PAC, Murray Energy donated a total of $1.5 million to political candidates, party committees and outside groups in the 2016 cycle, a record high for the company. It gave $250,000 to the Cleveland Host Committee, which helped fund the Republican National Convention this year, and $200,000 to pro-Trump super PAC Rebuilding America Now.
And Trump’s campaign received almost $103,000 from Murray Energy employees.
Trump was the largest beneficiary by far of the mining company’s gifts. . . .
Despite his contributions to Trump and the Republicans, local and national news sources have reported that Murray was not pleased with the Senate's version of tax reform which he claims will increase his taxes $60 million a year. Tuesday's Wheeling Intelligencer detailed his displeasure:
"For companies, like Murray Energy, which qualifies as an AMT [alternative minimum tax] payer, this legislation is much worse than the status quo. Our company will see a significant tax increase resulting primarily from the loss of the business interest expense deduction."
"This wipes out everything that President Trump has done for coal."
Fixing the problem
Our local representatives, Republicans McKinley (WV) and Johnson (Ohio), are supposed to respond to their constituents' concerns. With the GOP tax bills, however, I'm not sure they have. What about Ohio Valley residents frightened by the possible loss of their healthcare? Seniors worried about major cuts to Social Security and Medicare? Lower and middle-class taxpayers concerned that their tax bills will jump significantly after 2018? I've yet to see anything from either representative that they are addressing any of these concerns beyond assurances that things will be better. (They're probably waiting until their next town hall to explain. Yeah, right.) This morning's Intelligencer, however, makes it clear who does have McKinley's and Johnson's ears. The headline reads:
McKinley, Johnson Hope to Cut Alternative Minimum Tax
And the sub-headline explains:
Lawmakers respond to Murray concern
Yes, they've joined 24 other representative who've written to the House Ways and Means chair and the Senate Finance chair as the two bodies work to merge the two tax bills.
A final thought
It should be noted (and I'm sure that Robert Murray did) that our Republican senator (Capito) and Ohio's Republican senator (Portman) voted for the tax package. Senator Manchin even tried to provide an excuse for Capito's vote. According to WV Metro News:
Manchin said Tuesday he doesn’t believe Capito knew the things that Murray and the coal industry are concerned about were in the bill.
However, Capito had already said:
“Yes, I know what’s in it. It’s been out in the public space. It’s been in front of the finance committee, the budget committee, the energy committee,” she said. “I think that’s a bit of a disingenuous argument."