Pa. to lose nearly $442 million this year without severance tax

HARRISBURG, April 4 – Pennsylvania will lose about $442 million in revenue this year by forgoing a severance tax on natural gas harvested in the commonwealth, state Rep. Greg Vitali said today.

The figures are according to House Democratic Appropriations Committee estimates assuming a 6.5 percent tax, as proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf, with existing impact fees subtracted.

Those figures, coupled with data from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, indicate that the commonwealth has lost over $1.68 billion in revenue since 2011 due to the lack of a severance tax, Vitali said.

Vitali updated his Marcellus Money and the Pennsylvania Legislature report with the new findings.

The report also found that the drilling industry spent about $5.2 million in lobbying last year and $67 million between 2007 and 2017.

“With this kind of money being spent on the Pennsylvania legislature, it’s not surprising that Pennsylvania is still the only major gas-producing state without a severance tax,” said Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery.

Another finding shows there are 203 lobbyists registered as working for the natural-gas industry in Pennsylvania – equal the number of state House lawmakers.

“Other consequences of the undue influence of the gas drilling industry on the legislature include the blocking of conventional drilling regulations, the delay of Governor Tom Wolf’s methane reduction strategy and the blocking of a royalty-protection bill for Pennsylvania landowners,” Vitali said.