Local Officials: Higher Energy Taxes “Could Hurt Local Economies”

Local officials across the Commonwealth continue to add their voices to the wave of Pennsylvanians, county and municipal government officials, as well as small businesses and union members standing for jobs over even higher energy taxes.

Their message is clear: Pennsylvania “communities rely on shale gas” impact tax revenues and even higher energy taxes would “hurt local economies.”

Here’s what local Pennsylvania officials are saying about higher energy taxes that would sting consumers, threaten small businesses and minimize shale’s local benefits:

  • Shale Impact Taxes “Have Been an Invaluable Source of Revenue to Local Communities”: Pennsylvania communities rely on shale gas impact fees for transportation, infrastructure and public safety needs, and the current model should not change under the governor’s severance-tax proposal, the head of a township association group said recently. “The impact fees have been an invaluable source of revenue to local communities,” David Sanko, executive director of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, said. “We are anxious to preserve that funding stream because it makes sense for communities.” … “We don’t want to see the revenue stream that had been provided by the impact fees be altered, either in distribution, allocation or size,” Sanko said. … Local government leaders in Pennsylvania are calling on lawmakers to preserve the impact fee in its current form because of how critical the funds are for municipalities that must maintain transportation, infrastructure, emergency services and more in areas where drilling takes place. Sanko also said there is a risk that a severance tax could cause drillers to leave the state. “We’ve seen them go elsewhere based on an international economy, unrelated to any tax.The less attractive the Commonwealth makes it, the greater the chance that it’s going to occur.” (Pa. Business Daily, 5/12/15)
  • Natural Gas Impact Taxes “Yield Fantastic Results” for the Commonwealth: Impact fees from natural gas drilling are critical for Pennsylvania local governments, and preserving the current floating structure of those fees is needed in the event that additional production places a greater burden on infrastructure and local services, the head of a county association said. “What we want is assurance that the impact fee will remain intact in its current form, with all of its current distributions, at its current rate,” Douglas Hill, executive director of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, said. … “We think it is structured remarkably well and the fund has yielded fantastic results, not only on behalf of all the impacted counties and their communities, but also it has benefited counties statewide through the Marcellus Legacy Fund,” Hill said. … Furthermore, the county commissioners association notes that property taxes are the only locally raised revenue that counties rely on, making it even more important that impact fees continue in the same way for counties to manage the additional burden on programs and services. Counties have typically used their impact fee revenue for transportation projects, such as repairs to heavily traveled roads and bridges, Hill said. (Pa. Business Daily, 5/11/15)
  • Higher Energy Taxes “Could Hurt Local Economies”: Pennsylvania municipalities want to preserve a local impact fee for gas development that is adjusted and assessed annually, arguing that Tom Wolf’s severance tax proposal and related plan to cap the fees could hurt local economies. “They want to preserve the dynamic aspect of the impact fee,” Ed Troxell, director of government affairs for the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs. … “We feel it works well now,” he said. Impact fee revenue is essential to the local governments in the areas where wells are being drilled now, because those communities become the economic engines of the region, Troxell said. … “We provide the infrastructure and local government services like police,” Troxell said. “That’s where the impact fee is extremely helpful.” (Pa. Business Daily, 5/7/15)

Become a United Shale Advocate today and join the thousands of other Pennsylvanians who support new jobs, not even higher energy taxes.