HARRISBURG – The House Finance Committee has advanced legislation that would impose a severance tax on natural gas drillers in Pennsylvania.
House Bill 1401, which passed by a 16-9 margin, was amended in committee to impose an incremental market-based tax while keeping in place the existing impact fee. The original legislation would have imposed a 3.2 percent tax.
State Rep. Tommy Sankey (R-Clearfield/Cambria), who opposed the bill in committee, issued the following statement on House Bill 1401, which may now be considered by the full House:
“Pennsylvania has solidly established its reputation as a business-unfriendly state. Voting in favor of this bill would do nothing to change that, which is why I strongly oppose the legislation.
“Supporters of the effort to further tax the gas industry have wild dreams about how much money this will bring into our state. I’m here to tell you the estimates are not what they were when the Marcellus Shale formation first became news.
“Figures on potential revenue have come down significantly. In addition, much of the gas is now being exported out of state, leaving someone else to bathe in the profits.
“Natural gas drillers are being taxed. It’s called an impact fee, which legislators in 2012 tried hard to sell as not being a tax. That spin has essentially come back to bite us.
“The impact fee benefits every county in the state, in addition to reimbursing municipalities in the shale belt for the impacts of drilling.
“We’re told many Pennsylvanians support this effort. I hope they realize the tax drillers would pay will be showing up in their energy bill if this becomes law.”
Questions about this or any legislative issue should be directed to Sankey’s Hastings district office at 814-247-6210, his Osceola Mills office at 814-339-6544 or his Clearfield office at 814-765-0609.