Governor Tom Wolf pushing for a new tax on Marcellus shale natural gas production.  But, some are worried about what it could mean for jobs in the state. 

Supporters say the new tax will raise hundreds of millions of dollars for the commonwealth, but while the legislation is bipartisan, there are many saying, ‘No deal’.  

Wolf says, “Pennsylvania has always been abundantly blessed with natural resources.”

Wolf on Monday announcing a plan he believes will capitalize on Pennsylvania’s energy resources, introducing two bills in the House and Senate that would create a severance tax on natural gas drilling.  right now, Pennsylvania is the only gas-producing state without one. 

He says, “It’s well past time that we join those other states in getting a fair share of the revenue for our citizens.”

The bills, which have support from some Democrats and Republicans, would generate around $250 million in the next fiscal year.  The governor says it would also keep the current impact fee in place.

Senator Tom Killion says, “This is an opportunity for us to provide revenue that can benefit all Pennsylvanians.”

Representative John Fritz says, “this industry really has been a blessing to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”  He says his district has seen a lot of positive from the natural gas drilling industry.  He says many young workers have come back to the area for good-paying jobs. “That’s what this industry has meant to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and I hate to scare them off with new taxes.”

He’s also worried about what it could mean for the current impact fee, though the governor says these bills keep that fee in place.  

Wolf says, “It’s far past time that Pennsylvanians stop allowing our Commonwealth to be the only state on the losing end of the energy economy.”

And that $250 million that the governor says the proposal would raise would be in the next fiscal year, which begins in July.

–Matt Heckel