FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Greg Vitali
Vitali presses for drilling tax bill vote
Six in ten Pennsylvanians support the tax
HARRISBURG, March 22 – State Rep. Greg Vitali today made another request to the Republican chairman of the House Finance Committee for a vote on his bill that would that would tax Marcellus Shale natural gas production.
"Revenues from a Marcellus drilling tax are needed to help mitigate Governor Corbett’s proposed budget cuts, prevent Growing Greener from running out of money and compensate municipalities in the Marcellus region for the added expenses they are incurring due to drilling," Vitali wrote in a letter to state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre and Mifflin counties.
Vitali earlier called and emailed Benninghoff, asking him to schedule a vote on H.B. 33.
The bill, which has 57 co-sponsors and bipartisan support, was referred to the House Finance Committee on Feb. 9. Vitali said he wants it reported out of committee as soon as possible so it could be considered during budget discussions. The House Appropriations Committee, of which Vitali is a member, started budget hearings last week.
The Finance Committee has to report the bill out before it can be considered by the full House.
The tax would generate about $200 million in fiscal year 2011-12, increasing to nearly $420 million by fiscal year 2015-16.
The rate of the tax under H.B. 33 would be slightly less than that imposed by West Virginia. It would be 5 percent of the value of each 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas severed, plus 4.6 cents per 1,000 cubic feet.
"Pennsylvania is the only state with significant natural gas production that does not levy a severance tax or fee," Vitali said. "Since the tax rate I suggested is on par with our neighbors, it will not hurt Pennsylvania's economic competitiveness."
Vitali added a recent Franklin & Marshall College Poll showed 62 percent of Pennsylvanians favor a drilling tax on Marcellus Shale gas deposits.
Editor's note: A copy of the letter is available by clicking here.