Bartolotta: Budget Address Offers a Starting Point, But Questions Remain



HARRISBURG – Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46) issued the following statement today in response to Governor Wolf’s 2017-18 budget address:

“It is encouraging to hear a budget address that does not include calls for massive increases in broad-based taxes. Over the past two years, Pennsylvanians have delivered the message that policymakers need to find greater efficiencies in state government instead of searching for new and creative ways to separate taxpayers from their money. I am thankful the Governor is finally starting to listen to taxpayers. I look forward to working with him and my colleagues in the General Assembly to create a budget that is both balanced and responsible.

“While today’s address included several positive elements, the fact that the Governor continues to push a severance tax on natural gas extraction is extremely troubling. I have personally seen the thousands of jobs lost in my district as natural gas companies have been forced to lay off workers due to low gas prices and policies that inhibit progress. Natural gas companies already pay hundreds of millions of dollars in state taxes and Impact Fees. The impact fee alone has generated more than $1 billion for Pennsylvania to ensure communities that are affected by drilling receive their fair share of funding for projects like road and bridge repairs, housing and other infrastructure needs.

“Instead of taxing the gas industry out of the state, we should be utilizing the natural gas royalty payments that Governor Wolf has left on the table. This is why I have announced plans for a resolution calling on the Governor to end the moratorium on non-surface disturbance natural gas drilling on state forest land. This non-tax revenue option should be fully utilized before asking taxpayers to pay higher taxes elsewhere.

“The Governor’s proposal relies heavily on savings generated through the consolidation of several state agencies. I applaud the Governor for searching for ways to streamline government and save taxpayer dollars. As Chair of the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, I look forward to reviewing these ideas and determining how best to move forward in order to ensure the consolidation does not negatively impact the delivery of critical services.” 

CONTACT: Colleen Greer (717) 787-1463

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