When it comes to natural gas drillers, how does Pennsylvania tax revenue stack up against other states?
The commonwealth's residents are supposed to find out this week.
State Sen. David Argall, R-Mahanoy City, asked the state Independent Fiscal Office — a nonpartisan group that, according to its website, provides "revenue projections for use in the state budget process along with impartial and timely analysis of fiscal, economic and budgetary issue" — to look at the issue.
In an email last week, the office confirmed it will issue a report that compares taxes paid by natural-gas extractors across various states. The office can't say when the report will be released, due to office policy, but word from Argall's office is that it will be before the end of the month, if not sooner.
Keep in mind Gov. Tom Corbett is opposed to any kind of severance tax (because he promised not to raise taxes or create new ones) on gas well production. But other states, such as West Virginia, do tax the production. Right now, Pennsylvania assesses a fee only on the well itself.
The fee generated $202,472,000 in 2012, according to the state Public Utility Commission, which was assigned oversight.
Speaking of severance tax vs. impact fee: Be sure to check out the Central Penn Business Journal's upcoming Currents supplement (the theme is "Refueling") due out April 11. In it, I will have a short update from Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bensalem, who is forging bipartisan legislation to nix the impact fee on wells and replace it with a severance tax.
This is something that involves the environment and a part of Franklin County (where my wife is from). And, more importantly to me, it lets me indulge my inner history geek.
The South Mountain Speaker Series will kick off its fifth season of four lectures March 27 at Penn State Mont Alto, with a talk on the history, diversity and current management of the forest resource in the South Mountain region.
"The Rothrock Legacy: A Forum on the Past and Current Conditions of Penn's Woods," will be at 7 p.m. in the Forestry Auditorium, according to a news release from the governor's office.
Another thing I like about it: It's free.
Additional topics in 2014 will include South Mountain historic African-American burial grounds, re-creating the cider industry in the region, and the impacts of weather and climate patterns.
The speakers series is envisioned as a revival of the talks given by conservationist Joseph Rothrock in the late 19th century as part of his work to preserve and restore Pennsylvania's forests and natural landscape. The fifth season of the speakers series is sponsored by the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau.