Why not tax natural gas industry?
To the editor: The state Senate and House recently passed a transportation bill which will be paid for by raising the tax on the price of fuel to one of the highest levels - and possibly the highest level - in the country. Other fees (taxes) connected to transportation will also be raised. While everyone will be affected by these taxes, the poor and the middle class will feel the greatest impact. People who think these taxes are fair and equal should consider what hundreds of dollars means to the rich compared to everyone else.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania has an impact fee on natural gas wells that generates a relatively small amount of revenue. Texas and West Virginia have a severance tax that brings in much more revenue than our impact fee. If Pennsylvania replaced the impact fee with a modest 4 percent severance tax, low compared to other states, enough revenue would be generated to fund not only roads and bridges but investments in other areas like education.
In other states, drilling companies also pay local taxes, including property taxes, on the production value of gas. Municipalities and school districts in Pennsylvania have little ability on their own to recover the costs brought on by drilling.
It is said that we do not want to chase away gas drilling companies with higher taxes. Where are these companies going to go? Delaware, where there is no natural gas? Increasing taxes on drillers will put us in line with many other states that have severance taxes and we wouldn't have to end up with much higher fuel taxes.
The agenda of the Republicans in Pennsylvania seems to be the same as it is on a national level: look out for the corporations and the rich at the expense of everyone else. We the people have the power to change that.