Cool New Video Debunks/Explains PA Severance Tax Issue

Mark Mathis – Clear Energy Alliance

A killer video on the topic of a severance tax in Pennsylvania has just been published (on Youtube) by the Clear Energy Alliance. The severance tax issue is one that we’ve tracked and written about for years–since Ed “fast Eddie” Rendell was governor. MDN caught up with Mark Mathis, founder of CEA, to talk about his latest video. Mark is an author and documentary film maker, and before that, a television reporter and anchor for ten years. Mark said he’s “a big language guy.” He began tracking issues in the energy industry some 15 years ago. Mark maintains the language we use to talk about energy is wrong–that the public doesn’t really understand. The PA severance tax issue is a perfect example. According to Mark (and the 4 1/2 minute video) PA Gov. Tom Wolf is being disingenuous when he says PA is “the only state without a severance tax.” While technically that’s true, what Wolf and other Harrisburg politicians don’t say is that PA has an “impact fee”–the equivalent of a severance tax. Plus PA has the second highest corporate income tax in the country, while other severance tax states (like Texas) have no corporate income tax. It’s virtually impossible to run an apples to apples comparison when it comes to how much a given company pays in taxes in a specific state. But according to Mark, slapping an additional tax on natural gas production in PA would be a disaster. The short video (which you MUST watch) explains it all in just a few minutes…

Mark has also produced two full-length documentaries. In “Fractured” he explains how language is used to dangerously deceive us about the most essential component to the function of the modern world–energy. In “spOILed” Mark examines the public’s ignorance of the central role oil plays in our lives. spOILed was shown theatrically in dozens of cities across the United States.

Mark has also produced a series of awesome short videos. The severance tax video is the newest. Here’s another video Mark published just a few weeks ago, talking about how oil (yes, that filthy fossil fuel oil) is actually worth far more than gold!

Take time to subscribe to CEA’s Youtube channel here.

So how does Mark make money? After all, it costs money to do high-quality productions like the ones he turns out. We asked him that question.

Mark’s model has several revenue streams. First and foremost, he delivers speeches at events and does public relations consulting work, which brings in the bulk of his revenue. The videos he produces, given away for free, help get the word out about Mark’s consulting business. (Smart guy!)

Mark also has some private supporters/funders. He didn’t mention who they are–and we didn’t ask. We suspect either oil and gas associations, or some of the larger oil and gas companies. Frankly, it doesn’t matter who funds him as far as we’re concerned. He’s not trying to hide anything. His work speaks for itself.

In our book, Mark is the antidote for a tidal wave of money spent by Big Green groups, and their media lapdogs, in bashing the fossil fuel industry. Mark uses measured, logical, and fun ways to call attention to the lies and demagoguery coming from Big Green. Keep an eye on Mark and his work.