LETTER: Energy tax increase could hurt PA

York Dispatch

As our elected officials continue to face tough budget decisions, we must not lose sight of the fact that a massive energy tax increase like the one promoted in the June 20 online editorial, Budget could hurt — unless you’re a driller, is a backwards and misguided policy. Higher taxes cost good-paying jobs and undermine the commonwealth’s ability to attract the capital investment needed to grow our economy.

This April 1, 2016, photo shows a shale gas drilling rig in Washington, Pa.

It’s undeniable that Pennsylvania already taxes natural gas development. Our unique impact fee, which equates to a 9.16 percent effective tax rate, has generated more than $1.2 billion in new revenue for the commonwealth and all 67 counties, even those that have no drilling activity. This natural gas tax has generated more than $9 million for York, Lancaster, Dauphin and Lebanon counties and helped fund projects like the Dillsburg Community and Glen Rock Borough parks in York County, the Lititz Run Watershed Restoration and Protection program in Lancaster County, and the Fort Hunter Trail near Harrisburg, to name a few.

Some politicians, though, continue to call for an energy tax increase that would make Pennsylvania the nation’s highest-taxed natural gas producing state, according to the non-partisan Independent Fiscal Office. In fact, the IFO concludes that hard-working families, manufacturers, and small businesses would shoulder the burden of this massive hike through higher energy costs.

If elected officials are serious about creating jobs, growing the economy, and generating more long-term revenue, we must set aside proposals for a job-crushing energy tax increase and look to manufacturing growth opportunities tied to harnessing our abundant, affordable natural gas resources.

Erica Clayton-Wright

Pittsburgh, PA