Feb. 11, 2015

HARRISBURG – Rep. Kate Harper (R-Montgomery) issued the following statement in response to the severance tax proposal offered today by Gov. Tom Wolf:

“Clearly, how to tax the natural gas industry and the Marcellus Shale is a debate we will need to have this year in the Capitol. I have my own proposal.

“My biggest concern with the governor’s plan is that it does not keep the existing impact fee intact, and that could mean a major hit to the budgets of communities directly impacted by drilling and to the many valuable statewide environmental programs supported by the fee. The impact fee has so far generated more than $630 million, and every community – even Montgomery County, which does not have a single gas well – is benefitting from these funds.

“I believe the governor is also overestimating how much money his proposed 5 percent tax will generate given recent drops in production.

“I have introduced a plan I believe will better meet the needs of the Commonwealth by leaving the impact fee and its distribution schedule in place, and then adding a 3.5 percent severance tax. My proposal would generate approximately $400 million annually, all of which would be dedicated to addressing the $32 billion unfunded liability in the Public School Employees’ Retirement System. Failure to address this problem will lead to skyrocketing property taxes across the Commonwealth in the very near future.

“That said, I am certainly looking forward to the debate and negotiation on this issue, which I believe is vital to our Commonwealth’s financial well-being. This growing industry provides us with an opportunity to help the already overburdened taxpayers of the Commonwealth, but it is important to do it right – we do not want to push the industry out of our state and the areas that need job growth the most.”

Harper’s severance tax proposal, House Bill 82, was referred to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee for consideration.

Representative Kate Harper
61st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Rep. Harper’s Blue Bell Office
KateHarper.net / Facebook.com/RepKateHarper