Speaking with reporters after the press conference, Corbett’s Budget Secretary, Charles Zogby, was clear that raising taxes on drillers is still on the table.
“There’s multiple options we can look at,” he said. “I’m not ruling out a severance tax.”
State House candidate Aaron Kaufer urges Governor Tom Corbett to pass a severance
tax to balance the state budget and provide additional funding for public education.
KINGSTON, PA – State House candidate Aaron Kaufer today issued a statement calling on Governor Tom Corbett to provide bold leadership and pass a reasonable severance tax on the natural gas industry to help balance the state budget and provide more funding for public education.
“In order to secure a prosperous future for Pennsylvania and our children, I believe it is critical to enact a reasonable severance tax, like is already done in neighboring states, on natural gas drilling to help address the budget shortfall,” Kaufer said. “In addition, this revenue will enable the state to meet its obligation to fully fund the educational needs of our children and should keep school property taxes in check before legislation can be passed to eliminate them.”
Although Kaufer does not think raising taxes should ever be the first option to meet a budget shortfall, he knows from going door-to-door to thousands of local residents that middle class families and seniors cannot afford to pay more. He also believes our state must remain competitive in attracting good paying energy jobs to Pennsylvania so this severance tax can’t be higher compared to surrounding states.
“In doing so, it is important to consider a few key principles,” Kaufer said. “Pennsylvania must continue to cut wasteful government spending to protect taxpayers. In addition, our state already has the highest taxes on established businesses because of both the corporate net income tax and the capital stock and franchise tax that these companies are required to pay in our state. A reasonable tax on Marcellus Shale drilling can ensure drillers are paying a fair share for the natural resources they are extracting from the Commonwealth while enabling the industry to continue to thrive within our borders.”
He is a little late on this as his opponent Democrat Eileen Cipriani and Dem Guv candidate Tom Wolf have long favored an extration tax.
Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that does not tax natural gas, yet it is home to one of the largest natural gas formations in the world, the Marcellus Shale. Pennsylvanians are essentially giving away our natural resource.
While Governor Corbett instituted a local impact fee, the fees collected are only a fraction of what the citizens of Pennsylvania would receive if we enacted a severance tax like other gas producing states have done.
Experts say a 5% severance tax will yield $720 million in its first year, which can be used to fund education and protecting our environment. It is time we made the gas drilling companies pay their fair share and put Pennsylvanians first!