MASTRIANO Op-Ed: Wolf’s Tax Hike on the Energy Sector will hurt Pennsylvania Families

The Wolf Administration has consistently turned to tax and spend policies as a way of addressing issues in Pennsylvania.

It is no surprise that once again, Governor Wolf is seeking to impose a tax to damage one of Pennsylvania’s most important economic sectors.   

Pennsylvania already ranks in the top 10 in tax burden among all states, according to the Commonwealth Foundation. The Wolf administration would like to improve upon that ranking.

The Governor is proposing a severance tax placed on the natural gas industry at a rate of about 2.8 percent to fund a vague “workforce and economic development plan.”

Like most of his large spending proposals, Wolf finds that it is easier to tax the people of Pennsylvania to fund his projects rather than explore ways to cut waste from the annual state budget.

The tax rate of 2.8 percent on the natural gas industry is much worse than it appears.

 According to Marcellus Shale Coalition president David Callahan, the Governor’s proposal would amount to a combined energy tax rate of more than 12 percent, which would be the nation’s highest.

The effects of this tax will reverberate throughout the entire economy of Pennsylvania.

As the people of our state continue to recover from the impacts of a pandemic, the LAST thing we should do is raise their monthly utility bill.

The natural gas industry supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania, concentrated in rural and often neglected communities.  Many of these hard working, blue-collar Pennsylvanians would be put out of work by Wolf’s new tax.

Lastly, a tax on energy will have impacts on U.S national security interests.

Crucial American allies in Europe rely on PA natural gas imports to offset dependence on imports from the predatory government of Russia.

We should be seeking ways to expand exports to our friends in Europe to strengthen our strategic partnership.

If Governor Wolf wants to accelerate an economic recovery following his excessive COVID-19 edicts, he should not be punishing a critical industry and the people of Pennsylvania who rely on it.

 

Senator Doug Mastriano represents the 33rd Senate District, which includes all of Adams County, and portions of Franklin, Cumberland and York counties.