Harper Comments on Efforts to Advance Her Shale Tax Legislation
HARRISBURG – Rep. Kate Harper (R-Montgomery) issued the following statement in response to bipartisan efforts to advance her proposal to implement a severance tax on natural gas drilling in the Commonwealth.

A discharge resolution signed by 36 members calling on the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee to release the bill was filed earlier today, while a letter encouraging consideration of a shale tax was also sent to Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) and Minority Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny) on Monday.

“The Commonwealth faces a budget crisis of anywhere from $1 billion to $2 billion. Surely a severance tax proposal should be on the table for discussion and a vote.

“The governor and the General Assembly have a duty and a goal of having a balanced budget in place each year that adequately funds essential government services for Pennsylvania. There has been no agreement on an acceptable source of funds to complete the budget this year. In short, this might help us get the budget done.

“While I did not petition the House to allow my severance tax bill, House Bill 113, to be brought up for a vote, when 36 of my colleagues chose to do so, I told them I would support the bill on the floor. I have been advocating for a severance tax for months behind the scenes as a way to address our Commonwealth’s growing financial challenges.

“I am not opposed to the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry, nor am I trying to chase it from the state. The natural gas industry has brought prosperity to parts of rural Pennsylvania where communities and citizens have struggled to survive for more than a generation. But I do not think a reasonable severance tax will cause the industry to leave Pennsylvania, since all of our competing states have a severance tax. Moreover, I propose to leave the impact fee in place so that those communities that have impacts from drilling get a source of funds to help deal with the issues they face.

“It’s past time for Pennsylvania to consider enacting a reasonable severance tax, and it will help us balance our budget in a very difficult year without raising sales or income taxes.”

Representative Kate Harper
61st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

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