Wheatley bill calls for a progressive, reasonable natural gas severance tax

HARRISBURG, April 30 – Citing a decade-long struggle to lock down a severance tax in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, today announced the introduction of H.B. 2253, which calls for a reasonable, progressive natural gas severance tax.

“As the Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee, I am always working toward fair tax policy,” said Wheatley, who noted, “Pennsylvania is the now the second-largest producer of natural gas in the U.S., but is the only gas-producing state without a severance tax.”

Wheatley added, “This means Pennsylvanians are paying other states’ severance taxes while sending our natural gas out of state and receiving nothing in return. A majority of Pennsylvanians support a reasonable severance tax that will help support our communities and many other state priorities.”

If enacted in to law, it is estimated Wheatley’s bill could generate $248 million in the first year. Wheatley said his legislation would propose a tax structure based on the price of gas from the preceding calendar year as follows:

Price Range                            Rate per MCF
$1.00 - $3.00                                        4.2¢
$3.01 - $4.99                                        5.3¢
$5.00 – $5.99                                       6.4¢
$6.00 or greater                                   7.4¢

Wheatley’s legislation was championed today by Gov. Tom Wolf during a press conference in the governor’s office. In February, Wolf asked during his 2018-2019 budget address that the General Assembly pass a modest, commonsense shale tax within the commonwealth.