MSC in York Daily Record: Gas Tax Fact Finder Piece Off Base

While the paper’s Oct. 3 “fact finder” on Gov. Wolf’s highest-in-the-nation energy tax proposal made a number of important points, it failed to provide readers with key context.

We appreciate that this paper — like so many others across the commonwealth as well as independent experts — confirmed that Gov. Wolf’s energy tax hike proposal represents the nation’s highest. That said, your readers deserve to know that this ongoing policy debate’s implications extend well beyond the weakly supported, apples-to-oranges fuzzy math laid out.

First, the projected revenue associated with Gov. Wolf’s massive energy tax proposal, as written, would not be directed exclusively to fund education and schools, as he and his allies frequently state. In fact, the lion’s share of his highest-in-the-nation energy tax revenue would actually be used to run up more government debt and borrowing to spend tax dollars that we don’t have on wind and solar special interest projects.

What’s more, given the ongoing and persistently depressed global commodity prices — which are even more profound across our region — even higher energy taxes, beyond those already in place, will make Pennsylvania far less competitive and cost good-paying small business, union construction and other supply chain jobs.

We do, however, agree with the paper that “the state needs the revenue” — yet we differ on approach. Working to encourage — rather than discourage — investment into the commonwealth will lead to more jobs and revenue overall. Moreover, finding ways to leverage our region’s abundant natural gas resources — particularly in the manufacturing space — will spur more economic activity, job creation, and yes, more revenue.

With drilling activities plummeting across the region, and that activity having a negative cascading effect across locally-based small businesses, there couldn’t be a worse time for an even higher energy tax. It’s basic economics and common sense, which are frequently absent in the halls of Harrisburg as well on newspaper pages.

Erica Clayton Wright
Marcellus Shale Coalition
Pittsburgh, Pa. 

NOTE: Click HERE to view this letter online.