Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer features two editorials debating a natural gas jobs tax. The Inquirer‘s editorial board begins its article with a straw-man argument, that tax opponents’ claim the industry will leave if a tax is implemented. The editors then advocate for a tax simply because “the state needs the cash.” In their opinion, the industry can afford to pay more—so it should.
CF President Matt Brouillette highlights their flawed logic in his rebuttal piece, “No, Drillers Already Paying Their Way.” First, Brouillette acknowledges a severance tax would not drive the industry from Pennsylvania. But the tax burden would be concentrated on landowners and industry workers.
An impact fee or tax is only appropriate if there are specific costs not covered by current taxes, fines and fees. Slapping a punitive tax on a growing industry because “they can afford it” only fuels excessive spending and does nothing to prevent future fiscal crises.