HARRISBURG – Despite the absence of a single drilling rig within its boundaries, York County still reaps the rewards of natural gas exploration in Pennsylvania. State Rep. Mike Jones (R-York Township) wants to give counties like York the option of using this existing revenue stream to reduce the burden of stormwater management on taxpayers.
“Contrary to what many have heard, natural gas drilling companies are already heavily taxed in Pennsylvania,” Jones said. “Thanks to Act 13 of 2012, York County has received more than $2.6 million from the impact fee/tax that is imposed on unconventional gas wells. A strict list of guidelines regulates how that money may be spent. I think we should expand it to include stormwater management, which is a critical environmental and flood control issue.”
Federal regulations are forcing state government to find ways to pay for stormwater management, also known as MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System). Jones is cosponsoring House Bill 781
, which would give counties the flexibility to use impact fee funds on storm water projects.
“Early next month, the Public Utility Commission will announce the amount of 2018 impact fee revenue to be distributed statewide,” Jones added. “The Independent Fiscal Office already estimates a record $247 million will have been collected.”
“I stand with the majority of taxpayers who oppose both a ‘rain tax’ and a regional stormwater authority, two bad ideas that have been discussed in recent years. These are just more attempts to raise revenue and create unnecessary bureaucracy at the expense of taxpayers.”
Act 13 of 2012, which was signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett, calls for the imposition of an unconventional gas well fee (also called an impact fee), and the distribution of those funds to local and state governments. While a significant portion of the funds are directed to cover the local impacts of drilling, counties like York that do not have wells also receive funding through the Marcellus Legacy Fund.
“The law was also written to eliminate the impact fee should a severance tax ever be implemented,” said Jones. “This should be kept in mind as Gov. Tom Wolf continues to pursue such a tax to fund his own initiatives.
“Act 13 of 2012 was written in a way that balances ensuring drilling companies pay their fair share without driving them out of the Commonwealth. While many drillers have left, enough of them have remained to generate significant revenue. House Bill 781 gives our counties another way to put that money to work.”
The bill is awaiting a vote from the House Environmental Energy and Resources Committee.
Representative Mike Jones
93rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott Little