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PA Gov.-Elect Wrong on Drilling Tax Prediction?

The Associated Press reports that “Gov.-elect Tom Wolf might have been off the mark by hundreds of millions of dollars when he said during his campaign that a new severance tax on natural gas drillers would raise more than $1 billion, potentially complicating his bid to secure new funding for Pennsylvania schools and alleviate a severe budget shortfall.”  

“The Democrat is pushing a 5 percent tax on gas pulled from the Marcellus Shale, saying drillers are failing to pay their fair share while state government and school districts grapple with persistent fiscal crises. He made the tax a centerpiece of his successful gubernatorial campaign, saying it would generate more than $1 billion each year for education and other priorities.”  

“But his estimate assumes a wholesale price of gas that drillers in the Marcellus right now can only dream about. At current prices and production, a 5 percent severance tax would produce as little as $525 million and as much as $675 million a year, depending on the extent to which drillers would be permitted to deduct gathering costs.”