MDN Editorial: PA Landowners Need to Continue Opposing a Shale Gas Severance Tax

The severance tax, like a bad penny, keeps turning up. Pennsylvanians (and eventually New Yorkers) will have to stay vigilant against greedy politicians who can’t help themselves when there’s something nearby that can be taxed. Tax revenues equal money flowing through politicians’ hands, and that equals power. The latest example:

State Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19th, of West Whiteland, has introduced legislation that would impose a tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction and use the revenues from that tax to give Pennsylvania homeowners property tax rebates.

Dinniman said a 5 percent tax on the natural gas from the state’s Marcellus Shale reserves would, by 2014, provide the average homeowner $148 each year in property tax relief.

“Every election, all the politicians stand up and say, ‘We understand your pain. We understand what’s going on. We will bring property tax reform. We will lower your property taxes,’” Dinniman said. “Well, the answer is beneath our feet. It’s a mile down, but it’s beneath our feet.”

The tax, referred to as a severance tax, would be assessed per cubic foot of gas that is extracted, Dinniman said.*

It is a bald-faced lie that the money will go for property tax relief. Hopefully the good citizens of PA know that by now. After having been lied to for a generation (lottery money goes to schools, Social Security money stays in its own trust fund, etc.), I am hopeful that people are starting to wise up. A severance tax, if instituted, will go to Harrisburg where it will disappear into politicians’ hands to be used for other “urgent” needs. And everyone knows it.

Landowners are encouraged to continue to oppose the severance tax, which ultimately comes out of their own royalty checks.

*The Delaware County Daily Times (Mar 3) – Chesco pol proposes tax on Marcellus Shale gas reserves