Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Four Drilling Tax Bills Now In Play

Senator Scarnati, Senator Yudichak (SB 905), Rep. Harper (HB 204), and Rep. Vitali (HB 33) have all proposed fees or taxes that by 2015 would produce from $172 million to $552 million per year.

The good folks at the Pennsylvania Budget & Policy Center have done great analysis on the bills.  See http://www.pennbpc.org/comparison-legislative-proposals-marcellus-shale-drilling-tax.

Senator Scarnatti has moved forward with an impact fee proposal and so it is three drilling tax bills are in play if semantics instead of dollars matter most.  But to most what counts is revenues paid and received and not whether the source is a "fee" or tax.

By 2015, Senator Scarnati produces $172 million per year; Rep. Harper's bill yields $204 million per year; Senator Yudichak's 318 million; and Rep.Vitali's $552 million.

The bills also differ in the uses to which funds raised would be put. 

Governor Corbett stands nearly alone in opposing a severance tax within Pennsylvania and around the country.  Governor Perry, Governor Jindal, Former Governor Palin are just a few of the many Republican Governors supporting and levying drilling taxes right now.

At some point, Pennsylvania will join all major gas producing states that have had for years a severance tax.  The only question is becoming how much pain and damage will be inflicted to legislators, schools, environmental programs like Growing Geener II, the gas industry itself before that day arrives.

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