Kentucky is approaching a critical crossroads in its relationship to coal. Rapid and dramatic changes in the world's approach to energy will have major implications for the industry and the state. At the same time, there are challenging questions about the role and impacts of coal within the state and its coal producing communities. Kentucky's historic reliance on coal for jobs and electricity presents difficult choices in the coming years. Kentucky should approach those choices with a thorough understanding of the costs and benefits of various options.

At the same time, a national dialogue about energy policy and coal is under way, and the impact of that policy on Kentucky and Appalachia is a key part of the discussion. Too often missing, however, is factual research and analysis of the benefits and costs of coal in those places to enrich the decision making.

MACED's report "The Impact of Coal on the Kentucky State Budget" is one contribution to those important conversations. This report compares the tax revenues generated by the coal industry in Kentucky with the state expenditures associated with supporting the industry.

A companion piece, "The Economics of Coal in Kentucky: Current Impacts and Future Prospects," provides an overview of the current economic role and significance of the industry in Kentucky and the challenges that coal in Kentucky will face in future years.