Gov. Wolf’s Energy Tax Hike to Harm Pa. Jobs, Consumers

Governor Wolf threw his support behind an energy tax increase this week, marking the fourth year in a row the governor put forth a plan that harms Pennsylvania families, small businesses, and consumers. Just like previous proposals, this latest tax increase is a step backward and will make Pennsylvania less competitive for job-creating investment.

Natural gas producers in Pennsylvania have been paying a drilling tax since 2012 – a fact that Governor Wolf and higher tax advocates conveniently ignore. This tax, called the impact fee, has generated nearly $1.5 billion in new revenue and, as Dave Spigelmyer explained in today’s PennLive, “we are the only state in the country with a tax on the gas industry that goes to local communities instead of a general fund for use by politicians.”

Following the Governor’s press conference earlier this week, MSC joined Pennsylvania’s other leading trade associations in defending Pennsylvania jobs. Here’s what they said.

Marcellus Shale Coalition: Governor Wolf’s proposal for additional energy taxes will cost Pennsylvanians jobs, raise home energy costs for consumers, all while not helping a single student or school. Pennsylvanians are tired of election-year political stunts and more tax-and-spend proposals that ultimately make Pennsylvania less competitive.” (Release)

Pa. Chamber of Business and Industry: For the fourth year in a row, the Governor is advocating for higher energy taxes on businesses, consumers, families and our growing energy sector in order to satisfy continued demands by government unions for more government spending and for funneling money into the bloated public sector pension systems.(Release)

Pa. Manufacturers’ Association: Pennsylvania’s natural gas opportunity is powering America’s rise as a global energy superpower. Anything that diminishes Pennsylvania energy production weakens America. … Potential investors outside Pennsylvania will listen to the Governor, decide the investment climate here is not certain, and conclude that the better plan is to go someplace that is more stable. That’s a lose/lose proposition for Pennsylvania: less private investment in the economy AND no increased collections for state government.” (Release)

MSC’s Spigelmyer also penned a PennLive column and joined radio hosts across the state this morning to walk through higher energy tax facts. Here are some highlights.

Spigelmyer Column: Just say ‘No’ to Wolf’s latest severance tax push

“Pennsylvania politicians – starting with the driver of the navy blue Jeep – claim they want the job creation, community benefits and economic growth that natural gas delivers…but champion policies like a job-crushing energy tax increase that threaten those meaningful opportunities. 

“Our leaders in Harrisburg should celebrate the economic benefits we enjoy thanks to natural gas, not plot new ways to punish job creators. … It sends a message that Pennsylvania’s chief executive chooses to double down on his tax-and-spend platform instead of enact policies designed to attract additional capital.” (May 2, 2018)

RJ Harris: I have two reads on this. First of all it puts a damper on the industry so we lose jobs that way. But I want to tell you something else – I’m the one that pays for it, because I have natural gas in my home. Those of us who use natural gas will pay for it because there’s not a tax out there on any industry that’s not passed along as the cost of doing business. Which means, I, as the consumer pay more. So we’re the ones that are really getting hosed as well.

Spigelmyer: “[Higher taxes] put Pennsylvania in a very uncompetitive position. I don’t know why folks believe it’s proper to pancake a severance tax on top of the impact tax that was passed in 2012, on top of the corporate net income tax, which is the highest in the country, on top of the highest motor fuel tax rate in the country – and once again, he does it with a straight face. The Governor says, ‘Well, the gas is here, it won’t cost us jobs and there’s nowhere else to go … companies have already left the commonwealth.” (May 2, 2018)

Spigelmyer: “[The Governor’s] press conference was full of bumper stickers, slogans, and campaign rhetoric like the industry is not paying our fair share, or that Pennsylvania is not being compensated for our gas. Nothing could be further from the truth. The impact tax that passed in 2012 has raised nearly $1.5 billion in proceeds. He says it won’t cost us jobs – that’s a fallacy and he knows it.” (May 2, 2018)