For the seventh consecutive year, Gov. Tom Wolf proposes a severance tax in the state budget. The Wolf administration claims that the severance tax, along with other proposed taxes, will help us recover from the covid-19 crisis.
The natural gas industry plays a critical role in developing products we use in our everyday lives as well as personal protection and medical equipment to combat covid. Affordable energy will help people return to work and help our economy stabilize and recover.
The administration would have you believe that other states with natural gas drilling have a severance tax while Pennsylvania has none. Pennsylvania has an impact fee, which is our severance tax. The natural gas industry has paid nearly $2 billion in taxes through the impact fee. Most importantly, the impact fee money has been distributed to all 67 counties in Pennsylvania and used for important local public safety, environmental and infrastructure projects.
Butler County is the first county in the commonwealth to develop its own infrastructure bank program utilizing its own impact fees. In three years $43 million worth of infrastructure projects have been reinvested throughout 15 county municipalities.
Levying another energy tax is not the solution to Pennsylvania’s budget problems and certainly will not help Pennsylvania’s economy recover. The governor’s plan has the severance tax proceeds going directly to Harrisburg in lieu of counties and taxpayers. Local government is in a better position to put these dollars to use closest to the people they serve … not Harrisburg.Author: Kimberly D. Geyer, The writer is a Butler County commissioner.