Monday, June 7, 2010

Ticker Counting Lost Tax Dollars

A liberal-leaning policy center says Pennsylvania would have about 55 million more dollars in revenue right now, if lawmakers had passed a natural gas severance tax last year.
Research Director Mike Wood says the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has set up a severance tax ticker on its website, estimating the amount of revenue the commonwealth has lost to-date by not imposing a tax on natural gas drilling.

"What we want to do is, we wanted to demonstrate to lawmakers how much revenue is being lost by not having a severance tax. It accumulates about 11-thousand dollars and hour, and has grown to about 55 million dollars to date from October 1, 2009, when the tax was supposed to be started."

The ticker is only a rough estimate. The center has taken the amount of well permits from Department of Environmental Protection data, and is estimating their production rates, based on figures from the Department of Revenue.
Wood is hopeful a tax will pass this year.

"We’re very pleased about that. It seems to us this is a tax that’s pretty normal in the industry. 96 percent of the natural gas that’s produced in the United States is produced in states that have severance taxes. This is kind of an industry norm. Honestly, Pennsylvania is out of the norm by not having the tax."

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