November 14, 2020
Bucks County Courier Times
Denise M. Furey
As the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s budget suffers from decreased revenues owing to COVID-19’s curtailment of business activity, I fear Gov. Wolf will attempt to fill this shortfall through additional taxes on Marcellus Shale gas.
This is not ideal as the sector was already reeling from depressed natural gas prices before COVID-19. Natural gas development in my opinion will lead Pennsylvania out of this COVID-19 induced recession.
Natural gas production, primarily from the Marcellus Shale, reached almost 7 trillion cubic feet in 2019, making us the second-largest natural gas producer after Texas. We want to return to this level of activity, but the addition of a new tax will only serve to impede production by increasing expenses.
We already tax this vital industry through an impact fee — which is a tax by a different name — and one of the highest state corporate income tax rates in the U.S. The natural gas industry yielded real benefits for the people of our Commonwealth.
The industry offers family-sustaining jobs. Affordable natural gas reduced our reliance on coal in power generation leading to a roughly 20% reduction in carbon emissions by the electric industry since 2005.
As we recover from the economic issues created by COVID-19, we cannot hinder the sector that is best poised to help the economy of Pennsylvania to thrive.