Marcellus Shale

A Severance Tax: The Basics

Pennsylvania has been considering a severance tax on natural gas for years. Here are four reasons it is long overdue: 

1. A severance tax can bring in substantial and, as natural gas prices rise, growing revenues to help close our budget and investment deficits now and in the future. Governor Wolf’s proposal is projected to bring in $349 million next year, $712 million in 2018-2019 and $1.15 billion a year by 2021-22. (These are net revenues after deducting a credit for the impact fee already paid by natural gas drillers.) Even a tax at slightly lower levels brings in over $200 million next year and close to a billion dollars a year 2021-2022.

Congratulations to Board Member Jordan Yeager on Act 13 Decision

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In a win for environmentalists and municipalities, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court last month struck down a number of provisions to the state’s oil and gas law, Act 13. Keystone Research Center board member Jordan Yeager was the attorney who argued for the towns and environmental groups involved in the challenging the law.

Boom and Bust: Lessons From the Gas Patch

In 2011, the town of Towanda in Bradford County was at the epicenter of the shale drilling boom. A visitor would have been hard-pressed to find a vacant hotel room. There were waiting lines at the restaurants. The streets and roads were choked with big-rig diesels hauling the water, rigs, equipment, gravel, sand and chemicals needed to develop the gas wells. Rents doubled or tripled forcing some low-income families into homelessness.

More on Counting Shale Jobs and Deciphering Who Cooks the Books

As the saying goes, “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.”

Natural gas severance tax or impact fee – false choice

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Pennsylvania should enact a severance tax on natural gas production. The need to enact a severance tax will not change regardless of the outcome of current, protracted budget debate between the Republican-controlled General Assembly and the Wolf administration.

October Payrolls Up Overall but Down in Mining, Logging and Schools

This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania was down slightly to 5.1 percent, and nonfarm payrolls were up by 13,700 jobs last month, each from their respective September levels.

After two months of declines in nonfarm payrolls, the return to growth in October was  a welcome change.

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