|Posted:||June 26, 2014 01:18 PM|
|From:||Representative Jesse White|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Prevent Termination of Marcellus Shale Local Impact Fee Upon Enactment of Severance Tax|
As we struggle to fill a large budget gap, there is increased support from both Republicans and Democrats for a severance tax on natural gas drilling from Marcellus Shale.
But what happens to the Local Impact Fee if a severance tax is enacted? The Impact Fee, which was enacted in 2012 as part of Act 13, brought in an estimated $225.7 million in 2013, with the lion’s share going to municipalities and counties most heavily impacted by drilling.
Although the conventional wisdom says any severance tax would have to be in addition to the Impact Fee, there’s just one problem. Act 13 (now found in Title 58, Section 2318) says in very clear language if a severance tax is enacted, the Impact Fee goes away by operation of law.
So the only way the Impact Fee and a severance tax can co-exist is if the Legislature amends or repeals the language of Title 58, Section 2318; otherwise, the Impact Fee goes away when a Marcellus Shale severance tax is enacted.
The Impact Fee is essential for communities dealing with the impacts of gas drilling; to take it away just to fill a $1.7 billion hole in the state budget is unacceptable. The issue is too important to rely on vague promises and political platitudes. The Impact Fee must be preserved by addressing the language of Act 13 before the Legislature votes on any severance tax proposal. Any other solution is unacceptable for the people living with the impacts of Marcellus Shale activity in their communities.
Introduced as HB2403