A proposal by the Pennsylvania legislators to enact a new tax on shale drilling could hurt local governments and the state’s economy. Concerned citizens should contact legislators to derail this misguided tax. Act 13, the 2012 law that established the per-well fee paid by energy companies, 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.
Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi said, “They see a golden goose and want to strangle it.” Local 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.”
Butler County Commissioner William McCarrier shares this concern: “I don’t want to tax something to the point that we drive it out.”
As McCarrier notes, not only could this tax reduce the amount of revenue going to local governments, it could kill jobs. These short-sighted tax schemes are based on politics, not economics.
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President Gene Barr notes a higher tax could make it unprofitable for natural gas companies to operate in the state. “The reality is it can stay in the ground if it’s not economical to get out.”
This tax plan is a threat to shale gas production. That’s something that should concern everyone in Clearfield and Centre counties.