Leaders of the CLEAR Coalition vowed to work with lawmakers in both chambers in support of Gov. Wolf’s proposal to levy a fair – and long overdue – tax on the Marcellus shale drillers and to use some of the proceeds to address Pennsylvania’s school funding crisis.
“Our members have long advocated for a statewide tax on the drillers that is in line with the tax that every other major natural gas producing state has in place right now,” said Tom Herman, President of SEIU Local 668.
“Our public schools have been starved of funding in the last four years and students are falling behind. Gov. Wolf’s proposal is a great first step in fixing this crisis and making sure than all students have access to a quality education.”
A statewide tax will generate up to $1 billion in new revenue for the commonwealth. Dave Fillman, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 13 pointed out that Pennsylvania is one of the nation’s top natural gas producing states but is the only major producer that does not levy a statewide tax. Gov. Wolf’s proposal calls for a tax that mirrors West Virginia’s tax.
“We support a fair tax that will not put the industry at a competitive disadvantage here in Pennsylvania,” said Fillman. “The fact is that in the last four years, these huge corporations have not paid their fair share and, under the Corbett administration, funding for public education was slashed and 75 percent of the school districts were compelled to raise local property taxes.”
Tom Herman added, “It just isn’t fair to raise property taxes and slash education funding while the shale drillers are not asked to pay a fee that they pay in every other state where they operate.”