The impact fee isn’t working for Pennsylvania, but it is for the gas drillers.
Last year, the drillers far exceeded their production record from the previous year by 30 percent. They produced 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Yet their impact fee payments went down slightly, even as production soared.
That drop proves that the impact fee does not generate increasing revenues for Pennsylvania as the drilling industry’s production and profits climb. A severance tax on production, like the one proposed by Gov. Wolf, would generate increasing revenue as production increases and gas prices rise.
Gov. Wolf has also proposed retaining the impact fee at its highest level, a deal which should now look better to the communities in the gas field that receive those payments.
The current impact fee is no substitute for a reasonable severance tax. Some of the money flowing from our gas field should go where the governor wants it to go – to restore education funding and extra-curricular program cuts, to rehire laid-off guidance counselors, librarians and nurses, and to expand early childhood education at our public schools.