Keep Pennsylvania competitive – say no to a severance tax

The following is a guest post submitted by Robert Heed II, President of RHL Companies. An established Pennsylvania company, it has been providing services to gas and oil companies and to Pennsylvania landowners since 2003.

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My business, RHL Companies, Inc., would not be what it is without the development of Marcellus Shale, neither would the local economy.  I feel that a severance tax would jeopardize what I have built today. I would like to commend the Pennsylvania representatives for voting down Governor Wolf’s latest version of a severance tax during yesterday’s budget debate. The proposed tax was effectively twice that of any other state in the country and would have severely crippled the business environment in the Commonwealth.

In 2004, I started RHL in Susquehanna County, with just one employee.  Today, 11 years later, my business has grown considerably and now offers everything from land clearing and hydroseeding, to erosion control and custom grinding.

I employ 35 hardworking people, all from our local area I might add. The average salary for each is $60,000 per year plus a full benefit package. Whereas the average salary in Pa is only $45,000, I believe. In addition to compensating my employees well, I encourage them to develop new skills, with added training, and job experience.

My company directly affects the local economy too; this year alone we spent over $5 million on regional suppliers and vendors. And my financial success has allowed us the opportunity to donate $25,000 to local charities, schools, and youth, & sport programs, something I could only dream of doing in my early days.

The outlook for the remainder of 2015 and the future for my company is taking a down turn, as it is for many of the businesses servicing the natural gas industry. If the slow continues, I will need to regress into my original business of timber harvesting, firewood, & local excavating. This change will most likely force a reduction in my workforce and restrict the revenue that we are able to pass on to equipment dealers, parts stores, etc.

All in all I believe we need to create a brighter future for our youth, including my own children. I believe creating and keeping jobs in Pennsylvania with a variety of skill levels and opportunity is the key to accomplishing this. Should a severance tax pass and the lull in the natural gas industry continue I fear this brighter future for our youth will be found in another state!

Keep Pennsylvania competitive for the companies who will employ our future generations, say no to a severance tax.

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Brittany Ramos

Brittany was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Pennsylvania State University where she earned degrees in Public Relations and Psychology. She recently earned her Masters in Sociology from Sam Houston State University. Brittany works in the External Affairs for Cabot where she manages communications and outreach projects to community members, elected officials, media and online supporters.

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