Had Enough Skewed Polls from Gov. Rendell Yet?

Ed Rendell’s “campaign” financed a new poll which was then given to the Governor’s Office to distribute, as well as to the propaganda arm of DEP and a nonprofit group that reportedly does no lobbying (which tweeted the results a day before they were released to the public).

This poll supposedly shows that 78% of voters support a tax on natural gas. Here’s the question:

As you may know, Pennsylvania is home to one of the largest natural gas deposits in the world, known as the Marcellus Shale. Large multi-national gas drilling companies from other states and other countries are coming here to lease land and extract this gas. This discovery holds the promise of significant economic development and the creation of new jobs, but it has also placed new and difficult stresses on local services, harmed water supplies, and destroyed local roads.

In other states, these companies pay a special tax to fund programs that will protect our environment and help local governments handle the increased demand on their services. Would you favor or oppose a special tax on these multinational gas companies for that specific purpose?

But there is no proposal that would give all the severance tax revenue to environmental concerns and local infrastructure. Suggesting that Gov. Rendell’s natural gas jobs tax would be “for that specific purpose” is a distortion. Rather, Gov. Rendell wants this money to fund his overspending on pork projects.

Further, the proposal is not patterned off of the taxes in most other states — which typically include exemptions for hard-to-drill areas and in the first few years of production. Gov. Rendell’s tax hike is higher than in most other states, and would only add to Pennsylvania’s tax burden, already the 11th highest in the nation. (Contrast that with states like Wyoming and Texas, which have a severance tax, but no income tax, and no corporate profits tax.)

Governor Rendell’s poll continues to mislead the public by leaving out the fact that drilling companies are required by law to repair road damages and rectify environmental contamination, and are currently putting millions into repairing roads.

Finally, Gov. Rendell’s poll trickery is undermined by previous polls showing far less support for a natural gas tax. These include an industry-funded poll by Harris Interactive, the May 2010 Franklin & Marshall poll, and even pro-tax PennFuture’s misleading poll showed barely over 50% supported the tax.


Gov. Rendell’s Poll

Harris Interactive


Pennfuture’s Poll

Support Tax





Oppose Tax