I think letter writer Don Opacic (“A Gas Severance Tax Would Be Bad for Pa.,” May 16 letters) is taking a very short-term view of the situation and is ignoring the lesson(s) of the last 100 years. Pennsylvania has no extraction tax, so all our BTUs went tax-free to other areas of the country, thus lowering their energy costs. Meanwhile Pennsylvania citizens pay a retail tax on their energy use.
Next look at Florida and Texas. Neither has a state income tax, but they do have extraction taxes. Hmmm … So Pennsylvania citizens using their energy have supported those state governments and added insult to injury by increasing our energy costs at the retail level.
As to jobs, the gas is here, it will get extracted no matter what the cost, as the United States needs it. And many (not-so-honest companies) will send in drilling workers and not properly pay Pennsylvania wage taxes.
So Mr. Opacic suggests we give others tax-free gas for some transitory drilling jobs. And when the gas is gone, Pennsylvania will resume paying other states’ extraction fees.
I would suggest that we impose an extraction tax, but rather than new programs, eliminate the state retail energy taxes. Thus we tax other states that have been taxing us, yet relieve our overall tax burden.
The gas is here; they will come for it. But then again I’m just having another logic attack.