If Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement Monday that he is again pushing for a severance tax appeared familiar to those listening, then the gas industry’s reply evoked a similar sense of déjà vu.
Joining the governor for Monday’s announcement was a bipartisan cadre of lawmakers from both chambers. Among them was Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), minority chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, who asserted the gas industry is “ready” to take on a severance tax. 
Following the governor's statement, officials representing Pennsylvania businesses and the natural gas industry issued a series of responses roundly criticizing the imposition of a severance tax.
Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania, a fossil fuels trade group, characterized a severance tax as “duplicative” and alleged it would effectively double the existing impact fee, which the group’s press release branded as a tax.
API-PA’s executive director, Stephanie Catarino Wissman, accused the governor in the statement of forgetting the economic progress driven by the gas industry in Pennsylvania over the past decade, separate and apart from the state’s own take through existing levies.
Marcellus Shale Coalition president David Spigelmeyer also contended that Pennsylvania already has a natural gas tax in the form of the impact fee, and said it has generated nearly $1.5 billion in state revenue.
“Rather than growing state government and appeasing public sector unions, Gov. Wolf and policymakers need to focus on job creation, especially for our building trades and the manufacturing sector, in order to grow the economy,” Spigelmeyer said in a statement.
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, a statewide business association, dismissed the governor’s proposal as “punitive” toward both job creators and consumers in the commonwealth.
Chamber president and CEO Gene Barr also slammed the proposal as union-driven and challenged the governor’s continued opposition to energy development on state lands.
“Contrary to the rhetoric being deployed in campaign ads, what is under our feet does not, in fact, belong to all of us – it belongs to mineral-rights owners,” Barr said. “The only public-owned mineral rights are those under state lands – lands that the governor has decided to bar from further energy development.”
The new severance tax bill, House Bill 2253, sponsored by Rep. Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny) was officially filed in the House today. Its companion legislation, Senate Bill 1000, has yet to be formally introduced.