It’s an absolute fact that natural gas development continues to be an economic and environmental winner for our region. But a letter to the editor (“Rural Pennsylvania Needs a New Voice”) shares misleading and downright false information regarding this important, job-creating, economic driver of the Commonwealth’s economy.
Pennsylvania has a unique way of taxing natural gas — it’s called the impact fee and it’s generated nearly $1.5 billion in new revenue since 2012. The impact fee is levied on top of all the other taxes Pennsylvania businesses pay, including the corporate income tax, which is the second highest in the nation. And the bulk of impact fee revenue is directed to localities – not to the black hole of Harrisburg spending — so communities can decide how best to utilize this important tax resource.
Over the past few years, McKean County has received nearly $8 million in impact fee revenue, which has funded community projects like the acquisition of Knox Kane Rail Trail, the renovation of the Port Allegheny pool and the restoration of Allegheny River headwaters, to name a few of the local projects. As Commissioner Cliff Lane said in June, the natural gas impact fee revenues have also helped to balance the county’s budget.
As the political season marches on, it’s critical that we all stick to the facts. And the fact is, energy development is a winner for Pennsylvania communities. Let’s work together to expand natural gas production and use, rather than impose additional energy taxes that threaten good-paying jobs and burden Pennsylvanians with higher costs.
Erica Clayton Wright, Marcellus Shale Coalition, Pittsburgh
Click HERE to view this letter online.