PA State Sen. Gene Yaw
How the voters of northeast Pennsylvania who support shale energy continue to reelect Gene Yaw as their State Senator is beyond us. He’s proven in the past that he will fold like a cheap suit on the issue of a severance tax. He did so once again yesterday, implying he supports Democrat Gov. Wolf’s latest effort to tax the shale industry into oblivion.
Yaw had a sit down yesterday with the editorial board of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. During his chat, he was asked about “a” severance tax. Yaw was not asked specifically to address Wolf’s new severance tax proposal, launched yesterday, but since Wolf introduced it yesterday, that’s obviously the tax plan Yaw was asked to comment on.
Yaw said he would vote for a “reasonable” severance tax. How do you define “reasonable” Sen. Yaw? Is Wolf’s new plan “reasonable”?
This isn’t Yaw’s first time in supporting a severance tax. He voted for one in 2017 (see PA Sen. Gene Yaw Defends Vote for Severance Tax). Following our coverage of that vote and Yaw’s support of it (yes, we were critical of Yaw’s vote), we received a couple of profanity-laden email tirades from Yaw. Apparently he got heat from MDN readers. Good.
We’re not letting up and not backing down. Yaw is WRONG on this issue. And he should be held to account. He needs to hear from his constituents that if he votes yes on Wolf’s severance tax, he’s political toast. We will be the first to campaign for whoever opposes him in the next primary.
No, Senator Yaw, it’s not an impact fee *plus* a “reasonable” severance tax. It’s EITHER an impact fee OR a severance tax. If you want to discuss and debate the merits of one form of tax over the other–fine. We can have that debate.
What is being floated by Wolf (and apparently supported by Yaw) is tacking a severance tax *on top of* the existing impact fee, doubling up the taxes that would be paid by drillers. It simply is not acceptable.
And don’t think for a New York minute that landowners will escape the affects of a severance tax. Your royalty checks will get dinged to help pay the new tax (see our lead story today).
State Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, said he could support a severance tax but not if it meant doing away with an impact fee already imposed on drilling.
Yaw, speaking with the Sun-Gazette editorial board Thursday, also addressed the opioid epidemic, property tax reassessment, education and other issues.
The lawmaker, who represents the 23rd Senatorial District which includes Lycoming County, said he would vote for a “reasonable” severance tax.
The natural gas industry, he noted, is reaping revenues with improved drilling technology resulting in more productive wells.
“They are drilling longer laterals,” he said.
His senatorial district has seen revenues of $1.5 billion from impact fees.
“I would vote for a reasonable severance tax as long as we can preserve the impact fee,” he said.
His comments came on the day that Gov. Wolf called once again for a severance tax on drilling.
On a related issue, Yaw said he’d like to see the permit process for drilling streamlined.
He said it takes the agency too long to consider permits for natural gas and other industries.*
*Williamsport (PA) Sun-Gazette (Feb 1, 2019) – Yaw addresses opioids, other issues
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