When municipal officials from Lycoming and Sullivan counties met last week to discuss the natural gas impact fee and its implications, they were basically told by one state representative that more is needed.
And what a wonderful world that would be, the one advocated by state Rep. Rick Mirabito.
That world would have the gas companies paying both an impact fee on well production and a gas severance tax.
We share with the representative the need to protect our communities from infrastructure wear and tear and environmental dangers. And we share with him that the portion of the impact fee going to counties and municipalities - 60 percent - is not enough.
But we don't agree that the answer to the problem is to strap a gas severance tax on top of the impact fee.
We especially don't agree with that at this time, when the companies are cutting back well production in the region. While we don't foresee a mass exodus from our region, the cutbacks are fresh evidence that there are other places that the companies can, and are, going.
They take with them a ton of employment opportunity and economic trickle-down that benefits virtually every corner of our communities.
But, in true Pennsylvania fashion, we contemplate taxing the companies more at a time when they are mulling over the degree of their future presence. That's not smart.
We also don't buy the representative's assertion that a gas severance tax will "lighten the load" Pennsylvania citizens and businesses face in the way of general sales, individual income and corporate net income taxes.
There is no track in this state that would lead us to believe leaders would cut back other taxes if there were a gas severance tax.
The impact fee needs refinement in coming years that increases the percentage going to local municipalities and we hope as the funding process unfolds in the coming years the state's leadership will see that change is necessary. But stacking a severance tax on top of the impact fee at a time when Ohio is trying to lure the same companies in hopes of proven economic bounty isn't the way to go.
We want more for the municipalities, too. But we also want the employment and economic vitality injected into the area in recent years to remain.