– At a press conference today, Gov. Tom Wolf announced his proposal to enact a 5 percent tax on the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania. Rep. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) issued the following reaction to the governor’s plan:
“The General Assembly enacted an impact fee in 2012 on the natural gas industry to help communities address local drilling impacts. I was disappointed to learn the governor remains committed to slapping more taxes on these companies, which are creating irreplaceable job opportunities and economic advantages for Pennsylvania. I was even more disappointed to hear he plans to send this money to Harrisburg to spend.
“Governor Wolf likened his severance tax proposal and its estimated impact to actions taken in West Virginia, but he failed to give us the full picture. As a business owner, the governor should be well aware Pennsylvania currently has the second-highest Corporate Net Income Tax rate in the country. These companies are already paying billions in taxes. I think he needs to be more transparent and open about Pennsylvania’s overall tax portfolio instead of just zeroing in on this one tax that polls well.
“Imposing an additional tax on this mass job-creating industry is a surefire way to send the rigs, and the economic benefit that comes with them, packing. Common sense will tell you that there will be no money left for anyone if we don’t have companies here to pay the tax he’s proposing. If the governor wants to raise revenue, then let’s expand our economy by working to attract manufacturers that create family-sustaining jobs to Pennsylvania.
“To use our education system as a marketing backdrop to launch an attack on the drilling industry is neither fair nor honest. Earmarking wild revenue estimates for specific areas like education is not how our budget process works. In June when we pass the budget, we will look at all the revenue coming in and then make a spending plan.
“While we would all like to see better investments in our classrooms, we first need to ensure our schools are doing everything they can to keep costs under control. The reality is Pennsylvania ranks in the top 10 in the nation in per-pupil spending. The governor skipped over that fact today and went straight to more taxes and more spending.”
To view Christiana’s video remarks on the Wolf severance tax plan, visit Youtube.com/RepChristiana
Representative Jim Christiana
15th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Abbey Haslam