HARRISBURG – Senators Camera Bartolotta (R-46) and Pat Stefano (R-32) offered an alternative today to Governor Wolf’s Restore PA plan that would fund infrastructure projects throughout the state without the need for the Governor’s job-killing severance tax.
As part of his budget address, Governor Wolf proposed a bond issue – funded by an additional tax on the natural gas industry – to provide funding for blight remediation, stormwater projects, flood prevention, brownfield cleanups and infrastructure projects.
Bartolotta and Stefano proposed a plan today that would fund similar projects through revenues generated by lifting the Governor’s moratorium on non-surface disturbance natural gas drilling on state forest lands.
The Senators’ plan would not require the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to authorize new non-surface disturbance horizontal drilling. It would only lift the moratorium on leases for existing wellpads.
“This legislation represents a commonsense approach to best protect and utilize our natural resources without massive borrowing that could have a negative impact on job creators and consumers,” Stefano said. “Imposing job-killing taxes and long-term debt will only result in a step backward for our state’s economy and environment.”
“We have an opportunity to fund all of the projects that Governor Wolf wants to complete without creating new taxes that will stifle investment, chase away new jobs and boost energy costs to consumers,” Bartolotta said. “The natural gas industry already pays higher taxes in the form of impact fees that have helped fund billions of dollars in projects throughout the state. We need to explore different options other than piling on taxes that will ultimately be passed on to ratepayers.”
As part of the alternative plan, revenues generated from new gas leases on state forest land would be placed in a special fund managed by the Commonwealth Financing Authority to be distributed for blight remediation, flood control infrastructure, stormwater infrastructure, paving and repairing dirt and gravel roads, green infrastructure and abandoned mine reclamation projects.
CONTACT: Katrina Hanna (717) 787-1463 (Senator Bartolotta)
Ben Wren (717) 787-7175 (Senator Stefano)