Feb. 04, 2015

Rep. Thomas Murt speaks at the press conference unveiling a plan to impose a drilling tax on the state’s Marcellus Shale. 
—Rep. Thomas Murt (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia) announced today that he will co-sponsor legislation to dedicate funding to education and human services. Murt has lent his support to legislation that would impose a drilling tax on the state’s Marcellus Shale and distribute those proceeds to statewide initiatives, including education.

Murt, who was joined at a press conference by bill co-sponsor Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks), would impose a 3.2 percent drilling tax, while also keeping the impact fee created by Act 13 of 2012 to help communities directly affected by drilling.

“The Marcellus Shale reserves have been a great boon to our economy,” Murt said. “Our state government has been patient as the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania has evolved and has grown strong and vibrant. It is now time that Pennsylvania join our neighboring states that already assess a reasonable tax on the extraction of natural gas. It’s time for the natural gas industry to pay their fair share.”

Under the current impact fee, each well is assessed a fee which declines over time for the first 15 years of operation. All unconventional wells drilled each year, no matter how much natural gas is produced, pay the same fee.

Under the legislation Murt supports, the drilling tax revenue will grow as the value of production grows.

Rep. Murt’s video comments:

“In addition, this legislation earmarks the revenues which will be generated by this tax,” Murt said. “The revenues will not be dumped into the black hole of Harrisburg’s budget. The revenue will be devoted to environment programs, education, and human services, namely helping those families caring for adults with disabilities.”

The tax would be set up in a way that in the first year 1 percent of the tax will equal $6 million, and grow to more than $9 million per percentage point by 2019-20 with continued modest growth in production.

That revenue would be distributed to the following priorities: basic education, 40 percent; pension obligations, 35 percent; human services, 15 percent; and environmental programs, 10 percent.

“It’s just a question of fairness,” Murt said.

Pennsylvania, now the second largest producer of natural gas in the nation, is the only major gas producing state that does not impose a drilling tax.

Representative Thomas P. Murt
152nd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: David Foster
RepMurt.com / Facebook.com/RepMurt