The gas is not going anywhere! The jobs and economic benefit represented by the extraction of gas from Pennsylvania will go nowhere if a reasonable extraction tax is imposed on the industry.
I offer this suggestion to Sen. Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, which even the most conservative economists can embrace. Establish a reasonable extraction tax, with the specification that restricts the use of those funds to the reduction and ultimate elimination of the commonwealth’s debts. This not only eliminates the debts themselves, but also, and possibly of greater importance, the debt service payments, which drain revenue that could be going to fund schools, desperately needed infrastructure investment and social services, thus creating more jobs. Once the debts are eliminated, such revenue should be committed to significantly reducing or possibly eliminating property, income and sales taxes.
Instead of taking advantage of this huge revenue opportunity, Corman and the legislature have demonstrated that they are owned by the oil and gas producers. The senator, in his leadership role, has opted to secure exceptionally high profits, for those producers, who heavily contribute to many of his associates, rather than to provide the economic benefit such an extraction tax represents to the people of Pennsylvania.
They have determined that extracting more tax revenue from the people of Pennsylvania is a better option than an extraction tax.
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Every other state, even the very conservative bastions of Alaska, Wyoming and Texas have embraced the huge economic benefits of oil and gas extraction taxes, much to the benefit of their constituents, thus eliminating the need for an income tax. Yet, in Pennsylvania, protecting the exceptionally high margins being enjoyed by legislators’ contributors far exceeds the benefits such a tax on the industry could represent to all Pennsylvanians. Instead, our legislature offers its ironic “loss of jobs” canard.
The people of Pennsylvania are not as stupid as the senator and his associates believe us to be. It is time to cut us a break rather than to protect their contributors.
Chuck Franzetta, Boalsburg