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Stephanie Wissman's Remarks on the Impacts of the Senate-passed Tax Code Bill, H.B. 542

As prepared for delivery

Business Association Leaders to Address Revenue Package
Tax Code Bill Will Hurt Pennsylvania’s Business Competitiveness, Significantly Increase Operating Costs for Job Creators

Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania (API-PA)
Stephanie Catarino Wissman, Executive Director
Opening Statement, August 8, 2017

Thank you, Gene. Good morning, everyone.

API represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 625 members produce, process, and distribute most of the nation’s energy. The industry supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 40 million Americans.

In addition to supporting 3 percent of the state’s total jobs, natural gas has provided affordable and reliable electricity to an equivalent of 5.3 million homes throughout the state. This number has more than tripled over the past decade. As an energy producing state, natural gas is critical to Pennsylvania’s economy and its workforce. This is why the Senate proposal is so unfortunate.

API-PA members oppose HB 542. Not only is increasing energy taxes bad public policy, it’s a political ploy targeting job creators and industry to pay more and families to take home less.

This narrow vote was met by bipartisan opposition for good reason.

This punitive tax hike isn’t about paying one’s fair share or doing one’s part; the natural gas industry alone has paid over $1.2 billion in impact taxes since 2011, the bulk of which goes to local governments. The real impact is on Pennsylvania families who could be paying much more for living in Pennsylvania if the House doesn’t reject this measure.

It is a backwards approach that ignores economic reality, puts tens of thousands of good family- sustaining jobs and money for groceries in peril, while jeopardizing the future prosperity of the commonwealth.

Already, reliable access to energy has helped drive down utility, product and other energy-related costs, providing a $1337 boost to the average American household in 2015. U.S. industrial electricity costs are 30-50 percent lower than those of our foreign competitors, giving manufacturers – including producers of steel, chemicals, refined fuels, plastics, fertilizers and numerous other products – a major competitive advantage.

The Senate’s action places Pennsylvania at a competitive disadvantage for new investments for natural gas development and makes manufacturers and employers less competitive. Rather than offering proposals that could harm consumers and diminish Pennsylvania’s competitiveness our elected officials should look at ways to promote public policies that expand Pennsylvania’s opportunity to thrive and position our families to succeed. Bottom line, does Pennsylvania want investment here or elsewhere? The choice should be clear.

We can continue to work together by making investments in Pennsylvania, and that begins with smart energy policy so that the benefits of energy development continue to flow.

Thank you.