Everett Supports Alternative to Governor’s Gas Severance Tax

Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming)

Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming)

HARRISBURG – Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) and twenty-five other members of the House Republican Caucus today unveiled a proposal that will provide additional funding for the Commonwealth and local communities affected by natural gas drilling without increasing taxes.”Taxing an industry that is just starting to getting on its feet in Pennsylvania is completely counterproductive and will cost Pennsylvania thousands of jobs in the next decade,” said Everett, a member of both the House Republican Energy Task Force and the House Environment and Energy Committee. “In our current economic condition, we must look for ways to encourage these companies to invest in Pennsylvania, to bring in new employers and not to create barriers that drive them to surrounding states.”

To address the $2.3 billion deficit in our current state budget, the governor is proposing to institute a new severance tax on natural gas drilling operations in Pennsylvania. This new tax proposes to bring in an additional $107 million in the state’s general fund.

The alternative plan announced today, called “Energize PA,” allows for the leasing of 390,000 acres of state forest land spread over the next three years for Marcellus development. This proposal will provide more than $50 million per year for state and local governments and conservation districts and at least an additional $207 million per year that could be used in the general fund or for other state programs.

“Our plan not only brings in twice the amount of revenues for the state without a tax increase, but it also provides funding for our local governments which deal with drilling and its effects on a daily basis,” Everett added. “Instead of taking away jobs from the Commonwealth as a severance tax would do, this plan will create an additional 7,300 jobs.

“In addition to funding for the state and local communities, the ‘Energize PA’ plan would also set aside $13 million a year from the revenues brought in from drilling on state forest lands for the conservation districts that are responsible for protecting our environment by doing the on-the-ground inspections of these drilling sites,” Everett said. “By having a plan that not only helps to fill the state’s deficit, but takes care of the local communities and the environment, we are ensuring that Pennsylvania can allow additional drilling and prosper financially while preserving the Commonwealth’s beautiful farmland, streams, rivers, mountains and forests for generations to come.”

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