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The Deceptive Arguments and Tactics of Severance Tax Advocates

natural gas now - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

Pennsylvania’s severance tax debate has produced some of the most appallingly deceptive arguments and tactics imaginable as advocates lobby for the tax.

Pennsylvania’s severance tax debate is on again. Gov. Tom Wolf, the Commonwealth’s top trust-funder, is making yet another demagogic bid for a severance tax to whip up the greed of “something for nothing” public employee unions. What the debate illustrates, more than anything else, is just how deceptive severance tax arguments made by advocates for the tax really are.

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Putting Too Much Trust in Government Never A Good Idea

"Environmentalists" - MarkindDaniel B. Markind, Esq.
Weir and Partners, LLP

 

Whether it’s California, Venezuela or the Congress, putting too much trust in government is always fraught with risk and the lessons are all around us.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf unveiled his proposed FY 2019 budget yesterday.  The Governor proposed increasing spending from $32 Billion to $33 Billion.  In an effort to dampen the partisan rancor heading into the November election, Governor Wolf limited his tax proposals to only one new one – the mineral extraction tax.  I’ve said enough about that over the last year, so let’s see how it plays out.  If it passes, I wonder if the industry is united enough to get something for it.

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Marcellus Shale Drilling and Impact Fees Skyrocket

delaware riverkeeper - Jim Willis reportsJim Willis
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)

 

Marcellus Shale impact fees are headed upward as drilling activity in the region accelerates; bringing good news to all Pennsylvanians who benefit from them.

Pennsylvania, in early 2012, enacted the most sweeping rework of oil and gas laws in the state in decades. Called Act 13, one of the provisions of the law is an “impact fee” collected on each horizontal shale well drilled. The fee is intended to offset the impacts of drilling in places where drilling happens, hence the name. However, in order to get enough support to pass Act 13, politics were played and 40% of the “fee” got re-allocated to non-impact uses. That is to say 40% of the fee became a tax and it’s now skyrocketing upward along with drilling activity.

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Natural Gas NOW Picks of the Week – January 20, 2018

natural gas now - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

Natural Gas NOW readers pass along a lot of stuff every week about natural gas, fractivist antics, emissions, renewables, and other news relating to energy.

Here’s more material sent along by Natural Gas NOW readers; great stuff highlighting the power of natural gas and the absurdity of fractivism. Check out the links and other short bits below:

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The Puzzling Case of Pennsylvania State Rep. Garth Everett

natural gas boats - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

PA State Rep. Garth Everett seemed to be slinking toward a severance tax to advance a bill of his own, but didn’t. It’s all very puzzling, like Garth Everett.

UPDATE 12/13/17: Rep. Garth Everett informs me he voted AGAINST the severance tax bill yesterday despite it NOT having the minimum royalty language in it. Needless to say, we thank him.

There something very strange going on with Pennsylvania Representative Garth Everett of Muncy (Lycoming County) who has been making noises of late about maybe supporting a severance tax on shale gas production. It’s a strange position for a Lycoming County politician to take, given the importance of the industry to his constituency.

Any severance tax, despite Gov. Wolf’s protestations to the contrary, would have to come out of the pockets of landowners. Natural gas companies are, after all price takers, not price makers, and, therefore, have no choice, if they want to stay in business in the Commonwealth, but to ask landowners to share in those costs. If they can’t do that, they simply won’t produce. It’s that simple. One cannot legislate changes in the laws of economics, a fact Everett surely knows.

But, landowners are Everett’s political base, so why the flirting with a concept nothing short of anathema to them? That’s just the beginning of the puzzlement that is Garth Everett.

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Business-Friendly? What A Difference A State Makes!

Decline Curves - Chris AckerChris Acker
Geological Engineer,
Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania 

CHRIS ACKER

CHRIS ACKER

What a difference a state makes when it comes to being business-friendly and using its resources without breaking the bank and the backs of its citizens.

Wow – what a world of difference. I’m Pennsylvania through and through, but do manage to spend some winter months in lovely Savannah, Georgia. Most of you may think historic buildings and moss-draped oaks, but there’s more to it. The region is an economic dynamo.

Contrast this with Pennsylvania’s lumbering economy and dysfunctional budgeting process. I was reading an article in the morning news and it got me to thinking what a difference a state makes when it comes to ability, attitude, efficiency, business-friendliness and so much else, particularly when it comes to matters of energy.

More to the point, why Is Georgia perceived as pro-business and Pennsylvania as anti-business?

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Why Does Tom the Taxman Wolf Keep Lying About Severance Taxes?

natural gas boats - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

Tom “the Taxman” Wolf never relents in spreading lies when it comes to severance taxes because he aims to reward the public employee unions who are his base.

Tom Wolf, the taxman, was at it again yesterday, telling Southeastern Pennsylvania (Philadelphia region) politicians how he wanted to rescue them and their public employee union political base with a severance tax on natural gas. He repeated, yet again, the same lies he’s been telling since he ran for Governor in 2014, starting with the fact out-of-staters would pay most of the tax and, of course, continuing to pretend we don’t already have a severance tax that produces more revenue than other states he cites as examples.

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Tom Wolf’s Severance Tax Based on False Premises

Pennsylvania Independent
Oil & Gas Association (PIOGA)

 

In a letter to PA Representatives, PIOGA clearly explains and leaves no doubt the proposed severance tax is full of false premises and will overtax the natural gas industry.

It’s well past the time for an honest discussion about a Pennsylvania severance tax.

A little over a week ago at an event in Erie, Governor Wolf urged the legislature to come back to Harrisburg to complete the budget process by passing a severance tax and funding the staterelated universities, stating that the “fairest and simplest solution to the current budget challenge is a severance tax on natural gas production.” The governor also said that he’s “not sure what it is that people don’t like about this tax.”

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Laura Legere Does Yet Another Phony Story on Fracking

natural gas boats - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

Laura Legere, long-time lackey for the fractivist cause, has produced another hit piece on the natural gas industry that leaves out the most important facts.

Laura Legere is no journalist. She’s a hard-core advocate playacting as one and always has been. A weekend story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Philadelphia Inquirer, to which she “contributed,” is just the latest fusillade aimed at an industry she has long despised. When Laura was still at the Scranton Times, I once did an analysis of her natural gas coverage over the preceding year and found she had written nearly 40 stories on the subject, all but one of which were relentlessly negative. She is anything but objective and that has been proven yet again with this latest phony hit piece aimed at the industry in regard to the Pennsylvania severance tax debate. Fortunately, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) is fighting back.

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Let’s Call the Impact Fee by Its Real Name: Severance Tax

budget shortfallKeith Naughton
Principal, Silent Majority Strategies, LLC

 

Representative John Maher wants to set the record straight on the Pennsylvania impact fee; “it always was and now is a severance tax.”

With a simple amendment Rep. John Maher, Chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee (Pennsylvania), injected a much-needed dose of honesty into state government. Maher’s amendment changed the name of the “Impact Fee” levied on fracked natural gas to “Severance Tax,” which is what that tax should have been called from Day One.

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