Impact fees produce dividends that are less likely with tax

The funding for the 2014 gas drilling impact fees was released Tuesday..

And our region is not getting cheated.

The total gas drilling impact fee funding to Lycoming, Clinton, Tioga, Sullivan and Bradford counties is $45.4 million.

That includes $18.8 million to Bradford County, which has the most gas wells in Pennsylvania, and $12.2 million to Lycoming County.

The region’s funding is its share of $135.5 million going to county, municipal and township governments in gas impact fees.

A percentage of the gas impact fees goes to state government and some of its agencies.

But it’s worth noting that the lion’s share of the gas impact money goes to local governments.

Remember that when you hear the desperate pleas for a gas severance tax in addition to the impact fee, which is based on drilling production. Many lawmakers attempted to get the tax attached to the new state budget.

Such a tax would go to the state’s General Fund.

And from there?

Who knows.

But we have a suspicion, based on years of track record, it would be used to cover expenses in state government that are too high in the first place.

We are confident that future impact fee money will be applied to important infrastructure needs and improvements such as those on Reach Road in Williamsport and Route 405 in Muncy.

We are much less certain a severance tax would lead to more practical projects.

And we doubt, based on Pennsylvania political history, if using the severance tax to fill budget funding gaps will prompt the state to be more frugal in the future.