Pa. Natural Gas Tax Works for NEPA & SWPA Communities Alike

“There was a lot of wisdom that went into the creation of Act 13.”
-Wayne County Commissioner Brian Smith

Pennsylvania’s natural gas tax is a winning policy solution that is directly improving communities around the Commonwealth, said local leaders in Washington and Wyoming Counties recently.

Yesterday, elected officials and members of the natural gas community gathered on the steps of the Washington County Courthouse to speak about the many benefits of the natural gas impact tax. The county and its municipalities have leveraged more than $133 million in natural gas impact fee revenues—including nearly $23 million this year—to improve local roads, bridges, parks and first-responder services.

“The impact tax is a winning policy solution that empowers county and municipal leaders by keeping the majority of revenues local,” Marcellus Shale Coalition President David Spigelmyer said. “Its direct community benefits are on top of the local jobs, economic growth and environmental progress that safe, responsible natural gas development delivers.”  

During the press event, speakers touted the merits of this funding solution that is giving a boost to local communities:

  • Commissioner Harlan Shober: “[Impact fee revenues have] improved infrastructure, parks and helped fund libraries and community events.”
  • Chartiers Township Manager Jodi Noble: “We have been able to invest $2.8 million in infrastructure. This investment would not have been possible without Act 13 impact fee dollars.”
  • Cross Creek Township Manager Rachel Warner Welsh: “With the creation of the natural gas impact fees, the board of supervisors was able to lower our property tax mileage and reduce taxes and fees.”
  • Senator Camera Bartolotta: “Playgrounds, roads, fire departments, police equipment—the safety and security of all these communities have been touched by the impact fee.”
  • Commissioner Irey Vaughn: “This industry has provided family sustaining jobs to our residents and resources to our local non-profits.”

Just days before, similar remarks were being made across the state at the Wyoming County Emergency Operations Center in Tunkhannock, where elected officials and local leaders from Wyoming, Susquehanna, Sullivan and Wayne Counties gathered to discuss the community benefits of the natural gas tax.

The four-county region has received nearly $150 million from the impact tax since 2012, which has funded projects like the Joint Municipal Park Facilities and Playgrounds Project in Wyoming County, CJR Memorial Playground in Wayne County, Stevens Point Trail Bridge in Susquehanna County, and EMA services in Sullivan County.

Here are the highlights from last week’s event:

  •  Gina Suydam, president of the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce: “In addition to increased local economic activity at restaurants, hotels and shops, the county and its municipalities has received nearly $24 million in impact tax revenue – money used by our local elected officials to fund critical community projects.”
  • Wyoming County Commissioner Tom Henry: “We’d be lost without the [natural gas] impact fee. We’ve really come to depend on it and use it for the safety of the citizens.”
  • State Senator Gene Yaw: “The Act 13 Impact Fee is the most significant piece of legislation we have seen for rural Pennsylvania in a generation.
  • Wayne County Commissioner Brian Smith: “There was a lot of wisdom that went into the creation of the impact fee. We all capitalize on pools of money that were set up in this process.”

Pennsylvania’s impact fee has generated nearly $1.7 billion in tax revenues since 2012. In 2018 alone, the impact fee brought in $252 million, which was distributed to each of the 67 counties across the Commonwealth.