MSC in Times-Tribune: Higher Energy Taxes Will Cost Good-Paying Local Jobs

The Times-Tribune’s Oct. 19 editorial (“Expand pact to include fair taxation”) ignores market realities and basic economics in its call for higher energy taxes that will cost good-paying local jobs.

As The Sunday Times reported on Oct. 18 (“Natural gas companies pounded by low prices”), natural gas prices are at decade-long lows, driving a downturn throughout the industry and directly impacting countless Pennsylvania small businesses across the industry’s supply chain.

Your readers and editors should know that the commonwealth’s shale impact tax has generated more than $850 million for all 67 counties — even those without drilling activity — since 2012. This critical tax revenue source enables local community improvement investments, eases the burden on taxpayers and is separate and apart from the more than $2.3 billion in various other tax revenue generated by the industry since 2008.

Shale development presents a historic opportunity for our economy, manufacturers, small businesses and consumers. We agree that Pennsylvania needs more revenue, but raising energy taxes — especially under depressed market conditions — would drive investment away, resulting in fewer local jobs and less overall revenue. Given current market realities, there couldn’t be a worse time for higher energy taxes.

Policy makers should focus on solutions aimed at expanding natural gas use — especially for manufacturing — which will encourage job creation, drive new long-term investments and generate more revenue for the commonwealth.

Erica Clayton Wright
Marcellus Shale Coalition
Pittsburgh, Pa.

NOTE: Click HERE to view this letter online.