Unions & Businesses Form Coalition to Fight PA Carbon Tax

Big time opposition continues to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to force the state to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a tax on carbon aimed at coal and natural gas-fired electric power plants, with an eye to driving them out of business. We’ve written plenty about Wolf’s naked power grab, to force the state into RGGI without the legislature’s consent (see our RGGI stories here). In January we told you about a huge number of trade union members lining up to oppose the plan (see 130,000 PA Union Members Join Fight Against Wolf’s Carbon Tax). Those unionists have joined forces with the companies they work for in a coalition called Power PA Jobs Alliance with a mission to defeat RGGI in PA.
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OH Supreme Court Rules REX Pipe Owes $2M in Excise Tax

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Ohio tax commissioner correctly charged Tallgrass Energy’s Rockie Express (REX) pipeline $2 million in excise tax (based on $699 million of income), for gas transported from and to (within) Ohio. REX claimed it did not owe the tax because the same law that exempts gas transported out of state applies to gas sales in-state. But the tax commission, and now the Supremes, say that the portion of gas transported through REX that stays in Ohio is not exempt and can be taxed. So pay up.
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PA Gov Wolf’s $4.5B Severance Tax Debacle Dead as a Doornail

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s Santa Claus routine is wearing thin. As he has done year after year with his annual proposed budgets, Wolf once again is calling for a massive tax increase of $4.5 billion, assessed solely on the Marcellus Shale industry, in order to fund a panoply of projects (see Wolf Lies About 2020 Proposed Budget – Includes $4.5B Tax Increase). The PA House and Senate (both chambers controlled by Republican majorities) are standing firm against Wolf’s desire to tax the Marcellus out of existence. They recognize his tax would kill the goose laying economic golden eggs in the state.
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Snyder Bros Off the Hook for Penalties & Interest re Strippers

In December 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that so-called “stripper wells” (low-producing wells) can be taxed under the 2012 Act 13 law, slapped with an impact tax assessment if those wells produce more than 90 thousand cubic feet per day (Mcf/d) of gas in a single month, any month (see PA Supreme Court Rules Strippers Not Exempt from Impact Fee). Snyder Brothers, the driller whose stripper wells were the target of the lawsuit, asked the Supremes to reconsider their decision. They did, kicking elements of the case down to a lower court (Commonwealth Court). Synder still owes the impact tax, that’s not in question. But Snyder argued they shouldn’t also have to pay interest and late-payment penalties just because they challenged the original assessment.
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Wolf Lies About 2020 Proposed Budget – Includes $4.5B Tax Increase

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf flat out, 100% lied when he introduced his latest annual budget on Tuesday, declaring “it doesn’t raise taxes.” B.S. As he has done for the past six budgets, Wolf once again is calling for a new severance tax on the Marcellus. On top of the existing impact tax (the equivalent of a severance tax). Wolf’s plan calls for a new tax that would steal $4.5 billion out of the pockets of drillers and landowners in order to redistribute their hard-earned wealth to a panoply of others.
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PA Gov Wolf Makes Another Push to Kill Marcellus with Severance Tax

Little Johnny one-note, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, is once again singing a single note–and that note is a call to destroy what’s left of the PA Marcellus industry with a severance tax. He sang his one-note tune yesterday, doing his best Santa Claus routine. Wolf says he can give away $4.5 billion of “everything” PA residents desire most in life–if only the evil Republican leadership in both chambers of the legislature would allow a vote on his plan.
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PA Rep. Metcalfe Calls Wolf “Rogue Governor” – Can’t Force RGGI

The gloves are off in Harrisburg. We previously told you about Gov. Wolf’s plan to have PA join with northeastern states in the so-called Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional alliance to slap a carbon tax on natural gas-fired electric plants (see Gov. Wolf Goes Bonkers: EO Destroying Gas-Fired Elec, Carbon Tax). PA Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (Republican from Butler County, PA), Majority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, sent a letter yesterday to the RGGI Executive Committee saying PA has a “rogue Governor” (his exact words) who lacks the authority to force PA to participate in RGGI without legislative approval.
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IFO Projects 2019 PA Impact Fee Revenue Fell by $53.6M (21%)

In 2019 Pennsylvania raised a record high of $247 million from its version of a severance tax, called an impact fee, based on drilling activity from 2018 (see PA IFO Report Says Record High Impact Tax for 2018 – $247M). The state’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) is out with projections for how much revenue will be raised this year (based on drilling in 2019). Given we hit a downturn last year, you won’t be surprised to learn the impact fee will drop by $53.6 million (21%), to a projected $198.2 million.
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Ohio Court: Utica Frackers Owed Sales Tax Refunds for Equipment

Good news for oilfield services companies that offer fracking services in the Ohio Utica Shale. The Tenth District Ohio Court of Appeals recently ruled that an amendment to an existing law granting tax exempt status for oil and gas equipment not only applies to equipment purchased by frackers from now on, it also applies to equipment they’ve purchased (and paid sales tax on) going back in time too. In other words, some frackers are owed refunds on the sales tax they’ve paid in the past.
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Misnamed Young “Conservatives” for Carbon Dividends Wants CO2 Tax

If there is one defining characteristic of a truly conservative Republican, it is that he or she does not like higher taxes. On anything. Conservatives know that higher taxes equal less freedom of individual choice. And higher taxes feed (and perpetuate) the bureaucratic Big Government machine. A lower taxes philosophy is baked into the true conservative’s DNA. Yet a group of brainwashed college students professing to be Republican and conservative (they’re neither) has just launched a group called Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends to lobby for an insane carbon tax.
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NEXUS and Rover Pipes Ask Stark County, OH for BIG Tax Cut

One of the selling points to make big interstate pipeline projects more palatable to the general public, at least in Ohio, has been the fact they pay annual property taxes. We can tell you from personal experience that a small pipeline in the Town of Windsor (NY, yes! NY) has meant lower property tax bills for MDN editor Jim Willis. Two very large pipeline projects in Ohio, Rover and NEXUS, are asking Stark County to reduce their assessments so they can pay less in taxes–up to 50% less.
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Natural Gas Supply Association Goes Nuts, Supports Carbon Tax

What’s the clinical term for a person who intentionally wants to harm him or herself? Self harm? Self injury? Self flagellation? That’s what we call the situation at the NGSA (Natural Gas Supply Association) which yesterday said it supports an economy and shale-killing carbon tax “as a critical pathway to aggressively reducing carbon emissions.” Are they nuts? Have they lost their collective minds?!
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PA House & Senate Republicans to Stop Wolf’s Insane Carbon Tax

Yesterday a bipartisan group of Pennsylvania House and Senate members held a press conference in Harrisburg to introduce parallel bills to prevent Gov. Tom Wolf from following through on his insane plan to tax carbon dioxide from natural gas-fired power plants–yet another attempt by Wolf to raise ~$300 million a year for Harrisburg politicians to spread around to voters in an effort to get themselves reelected. The proposed bills will prohibit the state from joining the so-called Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) without express permission from the PA legislature.
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WV State Severance Tax Revenue Whacked by Low NatGas Price

Not long ago we highlighted the problem of falling severance tax revenue in West Virginia (see Falling WV Severance Tax Revenue a Problem for Gov. Justice). The state previously forecast severance tax revenues of $85 million for July, August and September. They got $59 million–or $26 million less. Unfortunately for WV the same downward trend continued in October.
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Falling WV Severance Tax Revenue a Problem for Gov. Justice

We have, for years, brought you arguments about the superiority of an impact fee over a severance tax (see Allegheny Institute: PA Impact Fee is Better than a Severance Tax and Showdown: Comparing PA Impact Fee to WV Severance Tax). One of the problems with a severance tax is that when the price of gas is high, the tax revenues flow, but when the price of gas goes low, severance taxes on that gas dry up. That’s what’s happening in West Virginia right now–where they have a 5% severance tax on natural gas production.
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The Real Costs of PA Gov. Wolf’s Carbon Tax by Joining RGGI

Opposition to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to have PA join with northeastern states in the so-called Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) continues. Big opposition. Earlier this month Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf went completely off his rocker with a power-grab to force PA into a regional alliance to tax natural gas-fired electric plants out of existence (see Gov. Wolf Goes Bonkers: EO Destroying Gas-Fired Elec, Carbon Tax). The reaction was swift–on both sides of the issue (see Reaction to Gov. Wolf’s Bonkers Plan to Strangle NatGas Elec Plants). Reaction against the plan continues. The Indiana County, PA Board of Commissioners recently adopted a unanimous resolution against Wolf’s foolish plan, laying out in dollars and cents the very high cost such a plan will have on the county (in lost taxes and lost jobs).
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