A proposal by Pennsylvania legislators to enact a new tax on shale gas drilling could hurt both local governments, as well as the state’s economy. Concerned citizens should contact their legislators to derail this misguided tax.
Act 13, a 2012 law, established the per-well fee paid by energy companies, and has pumped millions of dollars into the tri-county area. Act 13 also contains a provision that ends the fee if the state enacts a severance tax.
According to Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi, “They see a golden goose and want to strangle it.” Local government officials are especially worried about this tax plan.
According to the Tribune-Review, “A push in Harrisburg to enact a tax on companies pulling natural gas and oil from Pennsylvania shale has some community leaders worried about losing the pipeline of impact fee money flowing to townships and counties.”
Another commissioner, William L. McCarrier, of Butler County, shares this concern. He says,” I don’t want to tax something to the point that we drive it out.”
As McCarrier points out, not only could this tax proposal reduce the amount of revenue going to local governments, it could also kill jobs in Pennsylvania. Make no mistake, these short-sighted tax schemes are based on politics, not economics.
Gene Barr, president of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, agrees. He notes that a higher tax could make it unprofitable for natural gas companies to operate in the state. Barr states, “The reality is it can stay in the ground if it’s not economical to get out.”
This tax plan is a big threat to shale gas production in Pennsylvania. That’s something that should concern everyone in Clearfield County.