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Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 in Legislative News | 0 comments

Highlights of Pennsylvania Senate’s $2.2B revenue package

Highlights of Pennsylvania Senate’s $2.2B revenue package

The Pennsylvania Senate passed a revenue package Thursday to patch a $2.2 billion hole in the state’s $32 billion budget for the fiscal year that began July 1. Some highlights:

NATURAL GAS PRODUCTION

The state would raise an estimated $100 million a year by imposing a new tax on natural gas production in the Marcellus Shale, the nation’s largest natural gas field. The effective tax rate for 2017-18 would be 2 cents per thousand cubic feet, although the annual tax rate may range from 1.5 cents to 3.5 cents. That would raise significantly less money than what Wolf had originally sought. In February, he proposed a 6.5 percent tax on the value of the production. In 2015, he had proposed a 5 percent production tax, plus 4.7 cents per thousand cubic feet. Money from the new severance tax would ensure that proceeds from an existing impact fee imposed on Marcellus Shale wells do not fall below $200 million a year.

BORROWING

The Senate plan would borrow $1.3 billion against future revenues that Pennsylvania will receive from its share of a landmark 1998 multistate settlement with tobacco companies. With interest and borrowing costs, that could mean Pennsylvania will repay $2 billion over 20 years.

NATURAL GAS SERVICE

Consumers would face a new 5.7 percent tax on natural gas utility bills, or $5.70 on a bill of $100, to raise an estimated $300 million annually. Natural gas is Pennsylvania’s most prevalent home-heating fuel, used in more than half of the state’s roughly 5 million households. The tax would presumably be a growing revenue source as the number of households heated with gas rises.

ELECTRIC SERVICE

A tax on home electric bills would rise to 6.5 percent from 5.9 percent currently.

TELEPHONE SERVICE

A tax on home and cellular telephone bills would rise to 6 percent from 5 percent currently.

ONLINE SALES

Pennsylvania’s 6 percent sales tax would extend to third-party sales in online marketplaces.

GAMBLING

The Senate’s revenue plan counts on $200 million from an expansion of casino gambling in Pennsylvania, already the nation’s No.2 casino state.

Senate Republicans have had differences with Wolf and House Republican leaders. A proposal brokered by Senate Republicans would hinge on Pennsylvania’s casinos being able to bid on a satellite casino license allowing up to 700 slot machines and 100 table games at a new facility, and paying licensing fees to operate casino-style gambling on websites and mobile applications. Many details remain under wraps.

Source: Senate Republicans