March 12, 2017
Daily Times Opinion
To the Times:
In his recent commentary, state Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166 of Haverford, continues to ignore important facts about Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry (“Lobbyists, Money Do the Talking for Natural Gas Industry,” March 6), which supports tens of thousands of good-paying jobs across the commonwealth and is responsible for dramatic air quality improvements that we all benefit from.
Mr. Vitali – who was recently removed from his leadership role on a key energy committee by his Democratic colleagues – wants higher energy taxes, which will result in higher energy costs for consumers and families, according to the state’s Independent Fiscal Office. As an anti-gas activist, Mr. Vitali would prefer the industry not exist, and takes great liberty in trying to vilify an industry that has proved to be very beneficial for the district he represents. What Mr. Vitali fails to share with us is the natural gas industry – like virtually every other industry across the commonwealth – is already heavily taxed. In fact, the natural gas industry pays additional taxes in the form of an impact tax, which has generated over $1 billion for the entire commonwealth, including communities like ours that have no natural gas production.
To see the benefits we receive from taxes on the industry, look no further than the nearly $5.5 million Delaware County received from impact tax revenues over the past five years, or the $8 million directed to Montgomery County. These natural gas tax revenues supported critical projects such as the Radnor TAP Trail, the Darby Creek Greenway expansion, and the master plan for Clem Macrone Park, among others.
Our region’s deep support for natural gas could be heard loudly when the Mariner East 2 pipeline project received state approval last month. Labor, civic, business and economic development leaders recognize that pipelines will deliver more good-paying local jobs and manufacturing opportunities for our region.
These are benefits we can all see and feel, and that should not be ignored by those intent on waging political attacks instead of supporting job creation and economic development. The hypocrisy of Mr. Vitali’s anti-gas efforts demonstrates an activist agenda that waves a lecturing finger in the face of his constituents while actively stifling economic progress, job creation and working to eliminate funding that has directly the benefited the people he represents.
Jim Knapp, Haverford Township