Restore Pa. initiative could have negative impact

In response to the Aug. 9 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article “New Pa. Poll Puts Biden’s Lead Smaller Than Others,” highlighting results from a Franklin & Marshall College poll regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s “Restore Pennsylvania” initiative, Pennsylvanians must understand the negative impact this policy could have on the state’s business climate. As the saying goes, the devil is always in the details. While the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry agrees that investments in road, transit, telecommunications, water and airport infrastructure are critical, it is misguided to fund these projects by singling out one industry for taxation and paying for it upfront with $4.5 billion in borrowing.

The natural gas industry is already taxed through a competitive impact tax that has generated more than $1.7 billion, with revenues going to every county in the commonwealth. Southwestern Pennsylvania has been the recipient of more than $300 million in impact tax revenues. These funds have helped to pay for a myriad of local projects — ranging from road improvements to water and sewer upgrades to parks and recreation projects. Interestingly, these are many of the types of projects the Wolf administration has said “Restore PA” will fund.

One of Pennsylvania’s greatest advantages is affordable, accessible energy. New and increased energy taxes put this competitive edge at risk. We encourage policymakers to pursue pro-growth economic policies. The Forge the Future economic analysis estimates that doing so could mean more than 100,000 new jobs and billions in new state tax revenue as our energy and manufacturing sectors grow. We need to leverage our assets to create greater opportunities for all Pennsylvanians.

Director of Government Affairs
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry