Harper Issues Statement on Severance Tax Bill Action
HARRISBURG – Rep. Kate Harper (R-Montgomery) issued the following statement after the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee voted to amend her bill that sought to implement a severance tax on natural gas drilling in the Commonwealth:

“I am very disappointed that the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee essentially voted to remove the severance tax from House Bill 113. With that bill, I had hoped to help solve our current budget impasse. I had designed a bill with a reasonable severance tax rate and with the proceeds going to the communities affected by the shale drilling; environmental programs statewide; the Pennsylvania State Police, which provides local police services to many of the communities in the shale region; and the underfunded teachers’ pension program, which is causing property taxes to rise across the state.

“The General Fund, currently short by $2 billion, needs the revenues to pay for essential government services, and before we tax cable, telephone and natural gas customers, we should enact a reasonable severance tax here in Pennsylvania.

“I am not hostile to the natural gas industry – truly I believe Pennsylvania can be the ‘Saudi Arabia’ of natural gas – but every other gas-producing state has a severance tax. These big industry giants are, in fact, paying this tax already to other states, and the price of natural gas to the customer, whether in Pennsylvania or Oklahoma, is set by an international market which has already factored in a reasonable severance tax because every other state has one.

“I will be filing an amendment to the current bill as amended by the committee to levy a 5 percent severance tax and direct the revenues it produces to the communities affected by the drilling, to the state police that protect those communities, to teacher pensions that were earned and must be paid, and to environmental programs statewide both to regulate the drilling and production of natural gas and to provide funds for mitigating its effects.

“I am hopeful that such an amendment – with a severance tax overwhelmingly supported by Pennsylvanians statewide – will break the budget logjam and get the job done.”

Representative Kate Harper
61st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Rep. Harper’s Blue Bell Office
KateHarper.net / Facebook.com/RepKateHarper

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