Council of Economic Advisers: U.S. Coal Royalty Program a Drain on Taxpayers

first_imgCouncil of Economic Advisers: U.S. Coal Royalty Program a Drain on Taxpayers FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Patrick Rucker for Reuters:A U.S. program meant to encourage coal mining on federal land is open to industry abuse and costs taxpayers billions of dollars in lost revenue every year, a White House study to be released on Wednesday concluded.Roughly 40 percent of U.S. coal comes from federal land and taxpayers are being short changed on those sales due to lax oversight and permissive royalty rules, according to the report from the White House Council of Economic Advisors.“The program has been structured in a way that misaligns incentives going back decades,” according to the report.Officially, the U.S. Treasury is supposed to collect a 12.5 percent royalty on coal sold from surface mines on federal land, but the real share is closer to 5 percent due to loopholes and allowances, the report found.“Companies have employed several tactics to lower the selling price of coal without losing revenue,” it said.Among industry maneuvers the report highlighted: coal operators sell to sister companies at low prices or collect penalty payments from utilities that reject coal deliveries.The government is cut out of those payments, the report found, while reforms could yield an extra $3 billion a year.The federal coal program was once seen as an energy policy tool rather than a way to generate big revenues, former officials have said.But in an effort to curb climate change, U.S. President Barack Obama has used his time in office to promote renewable fuels and discourage the development of fossil fuels.Early this year, the Obama administration halted new coal-mine leasing while officials look to improve the program — another blow for a coal industry already shaken by competition from natural gas and weak demand from China.The Interior Department has said the coal lease freeze should persist for years, but that will be left to the new president elected on Nov. 8Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has vowed to renew coal industry jobs, while his presumptive Democratic rival Hillary Clinton has said she would support coal communities as the nation weans itself off fossil fuels.Whatever the environmental costs, Wednesday’s report shows that the federal coal program is a fiscal loser, said Brian Deese, an Obama adviser.“This is a hard look at the economics. And what we see is a program that, even before getting to the environmental considerations, is not serving the interest of taxpayers,” he said.White House economists say U.S. coal program costing taxpayersFull report from Council on Economic Adviserslast_img read more

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St, Louis earns music program honor

first_imgBatesville, in. — St. Louis School has been honored with the SupportMusic Merit Award from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.The SupportMusic Merit Award recognizes individual schools that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.To qualify for the SupportMusic Merit Award, St. Louis School answered detailed questions about funding, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.This award recognizes that St. Louis School is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides policy implementation in the states and  replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing – while leaving behind subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. A series of landmark studies by scientists and researchers at Northwestern University found a link between students in community music programs and life-long academic success, including higher high school graduation rates and college attendance. In another study from the University, it was discovered that the benefits of early exposure to music education improves how the brain processes and assimilates sounds, a trait that lasts well into adulthood.Beyond the Northwestern research, other studies have indicated that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations, as well as learning how to give and receive constructive criticism to excel.A 2015 study supported by The NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.last_img read more

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