Speaker Turzai, Representatives Unveil Vision for Pennsylvania as 21st Century Global Energy Leader
SCRANTON – Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) led an energy forum today with local state representatives and energy expert panelists to unveil a vision for a 21st century Pennsylvania energy policy to grow jobs and gain energy independence.
By broadening responsible natural gas development polices within the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays, experts say it would transform Pennsylvania into a global energy hub overflowing with high-paying jobs.

“With sizeable domestic energy reserves, a robust manufacturing base and a dynamic mix of major corporations, small businesses, and emerging industries, Pennsylvania has a unique opportunity to become an international energy leader,” said Turzai. “We stand at the crossroads of whether we will choose policies that allow that to happen or policies that will stifle the growth, kill jobs and squander a transformational opportunity.”

More than 249,000 Pennsylvania jobs are currently tied to Marcellus Shale and related industries.

In 2012, the American Chemical Council studied the potential impact natural gas could have on employment and found a staggering 1.1 million family-sustaining downstream jobs were available around the industry in construction, 980,000 potential jobs revolved around the supply chain and 200,000 manufacturing jobs were waiting to be filled.
The panelists included experts in small business, local and regional impacts, natural gas vehicles and petrochemical development that see further downstream development of natural gas usage as key to creating jobs in a Pennsylvania free from foreign oil dependence.

“We have been far too apologetic in telling the real story,” said Turzai. “Pennsylvania can realize our full potential if legislators reduce the tax burden on Pennsylvania families and job creators, cut regulatory barriers that inhibit job growth and drive entrepreneurs to other states, and expand opportunities for new industry sectors to come to the Commonwealth.”

Currently, Gov. Tom Wolf has proposed dramatically expanding taxes on natural gas drillers, including a 5 percent severance tax in addition to a 4.7 cents per 1000 cubic feet (mcf) surcharge assuming a price floor of $2.97/mcf.

Once these add-ons, along with price differentials and other costs are taken into account, the effective tax rate could rise as high as 35 percent and could effectually kill off additional job growth, Turzai said.

“In our budget discussions, the biggest question we need to answer is whether we are interested in growing government and taxes or growing jobs and the economy,” said Turzai.

Representative Mike Turzai
The Speaker
28th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jay Ostrich
717.772.9943 (office), 717.649.6547 (cell)
RepTurzai.com / facebook.com/RepTurzai / @RepTurzai
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