February 11, 2015

Gov. Wolf's Marcellus Shale plan is the right thing to do

Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled a proposal to levy a fair tax on drillers who profit from Pennsylvania's natural gas deposits and send the "lion's share" of the proceeds to restore investments in education during a Feb. 11 visit to Caln Elementary School in Coatesville School District.

"The commonwealth ranks 45th in the nation in percentage of state funding for public education, and as a result, we have seen larger class sizes, fewer teachers, and vital program cuts," said Gov. Wolf. "These cuts have made it more difficult for students to get a strong education in Pennsylvania's public schools. This plan is the right thing to do for our children and our economy and to move Pennsylvania forward."

PSEA believes Gov. Wolf's proposal is a common-sense, popular, and equitable way to address the school funding crisis.

“Levying a fair gas extraction tax is the right thing to do for Pennsylvania's students,” said PSEA President Mike Crossey. “Asking these corporations to pay their fair share, raising nearly $1 billion in the first full year that it is levied, and directing these revenues to education will help reverse devastating school funding cuts and allow Pennsylvania to start investing in our students again.

“We commend Gov. Wolf for his leadership on this proposal to target funding to public education and look forward to working with him and with legislators to get this done.”

Crossey pointed out that Pennsylvania is the only major gas producing state that has declined to levy a state tax on natural gas extraction. He added that both an extraction tax and school funding issues enjoy wide public support and that Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom of states in the percentage of funding it provides to public education.

“Gov. Wolf's proposal connects two issues that Pennsylvanians strongly support – an extraction tax and public school funding,” Crossey said. “This approach takes a significant step toward solving the school funding crisis just by levying a fair, popular tax on corporations that have gotten a free ride for the past four years.

“Our schools and students are struggling, and they need these resources. Gov. Wolf's proposal is a common-sense, popular, and fair way to make sure that they get them."

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