It’s incredibly unfortunate that a recent editorial (“Gov. Wolf Would Do Well to Consent to ‘Grand Deal’”, May 20) supports even higher energy taxes that will hurt small businesses, union building trades, and consumers across the entire commonwealth, especially in Butler County.
If Harrisburg puts even higher energy taxes in place, every Pennsylvanian — including middle-class families and those on fixed-incomes — will see a cost increase. In fact, Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office confirmed any energy tax increase “would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher electricity and heating bills.”
Furthermore, Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation with an impact tax, which ensures shale-related tax revenues benefit the entire commonwealth. Pennsylvania’s unique tax is on track to generate more than $850 million over the past four years, which overwhelmingly benefits local communities. Butler County’s impact tax revenues — nearly $10 million generated for the county and its local governments in just three years with millions of more dollars set for this year — have been tapped to fund critical repairs to roads and bridges, prevent property tax increases, boost first-responder resources and renovate community resources like the Alameda pool, to name a few.
We agree with the Eagle’s editors that lawmakers should pursue policies that “strengthen Pennsylvania’s business climate and benefit taxpayers.” Even higher energy taxes, however, will cost our region jobs, hurt local small businesses and sting consumers. Harrisburg should focus on commonsense policies aimed at strengthening our economy and growing jobs, especially through expanding our manufacturing base and finding ways to put our abundant energy resources to work even further across our economy.