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Landmark Case

Nowak v. Foster

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Despite sitting on rich mineral deposits, Kentucky's Appalachian counties for years were among the poorest in the nation. A tax system virtually exempting un-mined coal from taxation ensured that miners working long, dangerous hours paid more taxes on their vehicles than out-of-state coal owners paid on coal reserves. Without tax revenues, schools and public facilities were some of the worst in the U.S.

Lawsuits filed by the Center in cooperation with Kentucky fair tax advocates helped change the financial landscape. The lawsuits forced the state to begin collecting a fair share of taxes from owners of valuable coal reserves by taxing un-mined coal in the same way as other real estate.

As a result, local schools began receiving over a million dollars annually in additional revenue. These taxes also were credited with making possible an industrial park that provides hundreds of local jobs.