PennLive: To help balance the books and protect the environment, we need a severance tax: Madeleine Dean recently published an opinion written by state Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, on the need for a severance tax on shale gas in Pennsylvania.

In it, she states how adequately taxing natural gas would bring "much-needed dollars to fund education and environmental protections, steering our Commonwealth to a more balanced budget for years to come."

Unfortunately, when it comes to natural gas, out of state gas companies are getting the lion's share of growing profits, while residents see little reward. 

Currently, the only revenue that the state receives from the exploitation of our Marcellus Shale natural gas resources is an impact fee, or tax, based on the number of wells drilled.

During the past fiscal year this fee amounted to an effective tax rate of 1.5 percent—the lowest rate in the nation according to Pennsylvania's Independent Fiscal Office.

You can read the entire opinion by clicking here.