We agree with the Post-Gazette’s support for strengthening Pennsylvania’s infrastructure, but the paper’s Feb. 13 editorial “Paying Their Fair Share” ignores the current funding solution that generates hundreds of millions of dollars annually for infrastructure, community and environmental programs.
Pennsylvania’s unique tax on natural gas — the impact fee — is projected to generate nearly $1.7 billion since 2012, including a record $247 million this year. This existing annual tax revenue, when combined with other business taxes paid by the industry as well as lease bonuses and royalties tied to natural gas development on state land, has provided nearly $5 billion in revenue since unconventional shale gas development began.
Locally, the impact tax has generated more than $203 million dollars for Allegheny, Westmoreland, Beaver, Butler and Washington counties. A handful of the many important projects funded include the $150,00 remediation of Oakmont’s Plum Creek Trail, the $206,661 development of a trail and kayak launch in Springdale, and the $225,000 construction of the Bellevue Borough Memorial Park.
Although it’s easy to loft claims that the industry isn’t “paying its fair share,” these real, tangible results prove otherwise.
Make no mistake, additional energy taxes erode Pennsylvania’s business climate, jeopardizing good-paying jobs, especially among our local building trades union partners hard at work constructing energy infrastructure throughout the region. With natural gas, we have a generational opportunity to achieve significant climate progress alongside meaningful, sustained economic growth; and the men and women of Pennsylvania’s energy industry are committed to policy solutions that help us achieve those shared benefits.
The writer is the president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition.
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