This afternoon, Pennsylvania will hit a less-than-noble milestone: $200 million lost to legislative inaction on a Marcellus Shale drilling tax.
We're talking about lost revenue that could have helped prevent cuts to schools, colleges, environmental protection and health services for the state’s most vulnerable.
The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is tracking in real-time how much drilling tax revenue has been lost since October 1, 2009 by not having a tax in place. The ticker will hit $200 million by mid-afternoon on Friday.
Across the country, 98% of natural gas is produced in states that have drilling taxes or fees. In many energy-producing states, that revenue supports critical services like education and health care, as well as environmental protection and the local impacts of drilling.
Pennsylvania is the largest mineral-rich state in the nation without a drilling tax or fee of any kind. All 11 states with more gas production than Pennsylvania have a tax or fee. Unlike those states, Pennsylvania is giving away a one-time resource.
As PBPC Director Sharon Ward put it in a recent press release: "Lawmakers have allowed drillers to avoid a tax that they pay everywhere else, and middle-class families are paying the price. $200 million could have kept more teachers in the classroom, college tuition more affordable and prevented a hike in property taxes.”