In response to Pennsylvania Governor Wolf’s proposed severance tax, a diverse coalition of various Pennsylvania businesses and organization developed a new website called Stop New Energy Taxes that is currently up and running. The website features news, literature, info graphics, testimonials and even a letter to the Governor himself concerning the impacts his severance tax on the oil and gas industry will have on all 67 counties of Pennsylvania and the state’s overall economy.
The website also urges Pennsylvanians to “Take action” by giving you the opportunity to write your own letter to lawmakers in order to voice your concerns about the proposed severance tax featured in the picture to below. To do this, simply click on the “Take Action” option on the top right of their website and fill in the recipients you would like to receive your letter. The website also features a “Bad Math” section, where you can take a look at some info graphics describing the “math” that Governor Wolf has neglected to check regarding the proposed severance tax and the harm it will do to citizens.
An Open Letter
In addition to the new website, this coalition drafted an open letter to Pennsylvania General Assembly along with the Wolf administration urging them to reconsider their new proposed budget. The letter asks lawmakers and specifically Governor Wolf to consider the damage and detrimental effects a new tax on the industry will have on the state and to its citizens. The 2015-16 budget proposal, which included a 5 percent severance tax and a 4.7 cent per thousand cubic foot (mcf) fee on the natural gas industry and a false floor rate of $2.97 per mcf would devastate the region’s economy and cause thousands of people to lose their jobs. A recent press release from the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry quotes President Gene Barr:
“Pennsylvania cannot afford to lose our competitive advantage in the shale play. The natural gas industry has revitalized Pennsylvania’s economy, bringing hundreds of thousands of family-sustaining jobs to our state, adding billions of dollars into the economy and lowering energy prices. A higher severance tax will drive our fastest growing industry out of the state, leading to the loss of thousands of core and supply chain jobs. Rather than placing an additional tax on this vital industry, lawmakers must look at ways to address the state’s cost-drivers, specifically the growing pension crisis.”
Real People, Real Stories
If you click on the “Resources” tab at the top of the site, you will see a few testimonial videos available for viewing. Small Pennsylvania business owners Jim Greenly, owner of Greenly’s BBQ and Bill Hampton, General Manager of Sugar Hollow Water Services shared some of their concerns about the proposed severance tax on the oil and gas industry in the videos shown below. The Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association (PMA) also voiced their opinions and concerns on their PMA Perspective Vimeo account shown below that highlights the impact the proposed severance tax will have on Pennsylvania citizens, small businesses and the economy as a whole.
You can also follow along with the coalition’s fight against the severance tax on their Twitter for the latest news from Stop New Energy Taxes. Additionally, don’t forget to take action and write to your local officials regarding the severance tax and the damage it will do.