Advocates from OH, PA, WV Urge Common Approach to Shale Taxation

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PA Budget and Policy Center, Policy Matters Ohio, West Virginia Center on Budget & PolicyDownload a PDF Version (with media contacts)

View Letter to Governors of PA, OH, & WV

Comparable tax rate will allow states to address impacts and invest in future

Check Out Media Coverage

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Op-ed: A Unified Tax Policy for Marcellus Drilling in Ohio, Pa., and W.Va.

Scranton Times-Tribune Editorial: End Excuses, Fairly Tax Gas

Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal Editorial: Plan for PA, OH, WV to Enact Severance Tax

York Daily Record Editorial: Is a Cannon Restoration the Best Use for Fracking Money?

Pittsburgh Business Times: Policy Groups Push for Marcellus Severance Tax in Tristate Region

Beaver County Times: Groups Push for Severance Tax on Oil and Gas Drilling

WESA-FM: Policy Researchers Urge PA, OH and WV Governors to Adopt Common Tax for Oil and Natural Gas

The State Journal (W.Va.): Policy Groups Seek Common Gas Severance Tax for WV, PA and Ohio

Columbus Business First: Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia Should Adopt Common Severance Tax on Drillers, Groups Urge PBPC Urges Shale Tax

HARRISBURG, PA (March 10, 2014) — Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia should take a common approach to taxing gas and oil drilling in the Marcellus and Utica Shale, leaders of research and policy organizations from each state said today.

Leaders of Policy Matters Ohio, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, and the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy sent a letter to the governors of their three states, urging them to enact a severance tax with a rate no lower than that of West Virginia. Such an approach would “provide important long-term predictability for the industry,” and “take taxes out of the competitive equation,” they wrote.

“A comparable tax rate will allow our states to invest in a stronger economic future,” said Sharon Ward, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. “It will create consistency for the industry, ensure that our communities are benefiting, and allow our states to address the impacts of drilling.”

The three organizations recommend that West Virginia’s severance tax rate be considered a floor, not a ceiling, for the three states. Doing so will bring the region more in line with gas-producing states in the West and the South, which mostly have higher severance tax rates than West Virginia.

West Virginia’s severance tax rate is in the middle range of gas-producing states and has not deterred shale drillers, but Ohio and Pennsylvania have lagged far behind. Ohio has a very low production-based severance tax, while Pennsylvania had no extraction tax until 2012 when it adopted a small statewide drilling impact fee. Legislation has been introduced in both Ohio and Pennsylvania to put more adequate severance taxes in place.

"A severance tax would help us to repair the damage from years of budget cuts and help us better meet the needs of people with disabilities, public schools, and our environment," said Pennsylvania State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bucks, who spoke on a press call hosted by the policy groups today.

All three states have experienced a rapid increase in shale drilling over the past five years – bringing some new jobs and economic opportunities but also growing costs to address environmental risks, increased demand for emergency services and public safety, a rapid jump in housing costs, and greater road maintenance needs.

Leaders from the three states said there is an opportunity now to take a more coherent approach to tax policy that will benefit the entire region and its residents.

“Communities have been hit hard with costs related to oil and gas drilling and waste disposal. These costs must be covered by the industry,” said Wendy Patton, Senior Project Director at Policy Matters Ohio. “Interstate competition for the lowest tax rate is a race to the bottom. When our states work together, we can maximize benefits while protecting residents and communities throughout the region.”

“Although our state capitals are separated by hundreds of miles, the gas fields in our states are in some cases separated by only a few miles,” said Ted Boettner, Executive Director of the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy. “From that vantage point, a common tax rate across the states seems not only simple but logical.”

The three organizations sent the letter to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, and West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. You can view a copy of the letter at

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is a nonpartisan policy research project that provides independent, credible analysis on state tax, budget and related policy matters, with attention to the impact of current or proposed policies on working families. Learn more:

Policy Matters Ohio is a nonprofit, nonpartisan p olicy research institute with offices in Cleveland and Columbus. Our mission is to create a more vibrant, equitable, sustainable and inclusive Ohio, through research, media work and policy advocacy. Learn more:

The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy is a public policy research organization that is nonpartisan, nonprofit, and statewide. The Center focuses on how policy decisions affect all West Virginians, especially low- and moderate-income families. Learn more: