For Immediate Release
February 12, 2018
Cites pension costs, property taxes as source of strain on government and families
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement today regarding the Wolf administration’s proposal to enact an additional tax on the natural gas industry:
“We are disappointed the governor has again proposed a punitive severance tax that singles out one particular industry. In December, the governor’s Budget Secretary presented a mid-year fiscal update that projects the state to end with a surplus for this year. We question why one particular industry should be singled out for a unique tax, given that the natural gas industry already pays the impact fee – something that no other state has and a revenue raiser that has provided the state with more than $1.5 billion in funding for conservation, infrastructure, environmental protection and emergency response.
“Government unions are driving the campaign to enact this tax. We must not forget that the state and many of its school districts face structural imbalances because of rising pension costs largely attributable to a retroactive benefit increase in 2001. As a result, property tax rates in this state have climbed considerably and place a significant financial burden on many families. Now, these same government unions, whose members are already benefitting handsomely from these pensions and other taxpayer-funded benefits, have thrown their support behind a tax on natural gas, the fuel that is used to heat millions of Pennsylvania homes. We strongly oppose raising costs on Pennsylvania families and putting jobs and businesses at risk just to satisfy these special interests.
“According to the Independent Fiscal Office, the effective tax rate of the impact fee is already competitive with other states’ severance rates - to say nothing of Pennsylvania’s corporate tax rate, which is the highest in the nation. Tacking on a severance tax on top of the impact fee will further diminish our state’s competitiveness. Tax reform and regulatory reform at the federal level, paired with our abundant energy assets, are providing a generational opportunity for Pennsylvania to see new and expanded investment and job creation. We should not waste this opportunity, and we urge the governor and the Legislature to adopt pro-growth policies that allow all sectors of the economy, including energy development and downstream manufacturing, to flourish.”
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.