The Patriot News editorial board has yet another editorial arguing for a new tax on natural gas, on top of the taxes they already pay. While the board’s passion for a tax or fee is unmistakable, their facts and logic are noticeably absent.
They give no reasons why the state should have a severance tax, other than other states do. What about the fact that Pennsylvania already has the 10th highest state and local tax burden in the country and the second highest corporate net income tax rate in the world, that drillers have paid more than $200 million in taxes so far this year and that the industry has poured hundreds of millions into roads? Not even mentioned in the Patriot’s editorial.
The Patriot goes on to argue that an “impact“ fee should increase with the price of natural gas. How exactly do they explain why higher market prices for gas would increase the impacts? They don’t.
Finally, the Patriot claims that not taking more money from these companies is “corporate welfare.” A few sentences later they argue the state should tax companies to fund Growing Greener. But Growing Greener is corporate welfare.
Growing Greener has nothing to do with natural gas drilling. It is a program that doles out tax dollars to a myriad of special interests. Alternative energy companies have received millions for expanding their operations. Growing Greener has also funded cosmetic improvements to privately-owned buildings. Even PennFuture, the eco-lobbying group, has been a recipient of Growing Greener funding. Shockingly, PennFuture is lobbying hard for a tax to fund Growing Greener.
Indeed, support for the impact fee is about those who feed off the taxes of others demanding “more.”