New Castle News

Letters to the Editor

March 31, 2014

Severance tax on gas could fund highways

NEW CASTLE — Editor, The News:

The News recently published an article regarding an analysis that said Pennsylvania had the lowest taxes levied upon producers of Marcellus and Utica Shale gas.

Acknowledging that there are competing views of the analysis, the point remains there was and still is an opportunity to reduce the tax burdens of citizens.

The governor and the Legislature passed a law that raised gasoline taxes in order to repair highway infrastructure. While I do not argue that these repairs are overdue and need funding, I do argue that it was necessary to raise gasoline taxes.

I understand the governor’s philosophy in making Pennsylvania attractive to the gas industry, but it was coming regardless. Why? Because our state has one of the largest reserves for Marcellus and Utica gas.

The article suggested a severance tax rate of 4 to 5 percent on gas producers could raise $1 billion annually. That could be set aside to maintain our infrastructure.

The Marcellus-Utica gas producers use our highway system to transport fracking water, equipment and the like. These loads cause damage to our infrastructure. So why not increase the severance tax and apply the funds to the highway system and reduce gasoline taxes?

I met Governor Corbett a few years ago. One of his promises was that he would not raise taxes on Pennsylvanians if elected. His current position is that raising gasoline taxes is not a tax increase.

If it looks like, smells like, sounds like and tastes like a tax increase, then it is a tax increase. His campaign ads for re-election state that one of his goals is to have Pennsylvanians keep more of their hard-earned money. He can follow through by raising the severance tax on gas producers, use that money to fund highway maintenance and reduce gasoline taxes.

Dan Bailey

Edwin Drive

New Castle

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