As a county commissioner, it is my job to focus on the well-being of all who call Tioga County home. Supporting our employers and economic development projects that create jobs and support our community is an effort that reaps dividends.
The boom in natural gas and its benefits are evident on our back roads and main streets. The industry fills the state coffers by paying Pennsylvania’s exorbitant corporate net income taxes and additional taxes paid by those who work in the industry or for the oil and gas concerns.
Funds collected from the Impact Fee, or Act 13, has contributed significant benefits to rural communities. For instance, they allow local police and volunteer fire departments, ambulance and EMTs and many social service providers to continue providing critical support to local residents. These funds have helped replace aging infrastructure and update emergency equipment. Impact fees have also been earmarked for county capital improvement projects.
Communities in all 67 counties are counting on natural gas’ continued success. We need the jobs it provides, the affordable gas it creates, the emissions it saves compared to coal-fired power generation and the tax contributions it already makes to the state. Rumblings by the administration and others to impose even more taxes on the industry are worrisome.
Taxing our way out of the COVID-19-induced budget deficit won’t solve the state’s economic woes. Additional taxes could lead to fewer jobs. Pennsylvania’s economic comeback depends on the natural gas industry’s ability to thrive. State government would do well to let it develop under the guidelines that have been implemented under multiple administrations.