Around The Public Policy Horn

Around The Public Policy Horn

The policy quote of the week comes from state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Jefferson Hills.

He’s the sponsor of a new bill that would bar the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection from enacting any methane-control regulation on energy drillers that is stricter than those of the federal EPA.

Reschenthaler, who represents the 37th Senatorial District, says the measure would eliminate unnecessary and burdensome duplicative regulations. Envirocrats predictably are attacking the measure as an assault on the environment.

But Reschenthaler put the debate into perfect perspective for the Beaver County Times:

“Methane is an easy one because companies already have an economic incentive to not have methane escape. Having a methane regulation is like telling a dairy farmer how much milk he can spill. It doesn’t make any sense. They already have an economic incentive not to spill any milk.”

Well put, Senator. Well put.

Pittsburgh City Council has unanimously passed legislation banning the city from withholding public services based on a person’s immigration status.

Translation: This council has no qualms about using your taxpayer dollars to enable illegal behavior.

The usual suspects — they call themselves “public interest groups” — closed out January by rallying for a deeper dive into the public’s pockets from a higher platform.

Pennlive.com reports the group — including “some of the state’s most powerful public sector unions” — is seeking:

A new tax on Marcellus shale natural gas production; a higher income tax rate of capital gains, dividend payments, royalties and business profits; and broadening the base of Pennsylvania companies paying the commonwealth’s corporate net income tax.

Good grief. Pennsylvania already has a reputation for being a lousy place to do business. So, what do these “public interest groups” propose? More onerous imposts that raise the cost of doing business in this commonwealth across the board.

Of course, the greater the tax on business, the less business you get.

This latest call for the State of Taxapalooza is far more than being tone deaf. This is reckless public policy that will only further retard Pennsylvania’s economy. Those who propose such nonsense do not have the public’s interest at heart but their own groups’.

By all indications, Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to yet again seek a severance tax in this month’s budget address. Exactly what tax rate he’ll seek, however, continues to be the subject of great speculation; prior proposals had no legs.

Proponents of such a tax say the proceeds could pay for all manner of things, returning something akin to “prosperity” to myriads budget sectors.

But as Winston Churchill once reminded, trying to tax yourself into “prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

It once was written that in levying taxes and shearing sheep “it is well to stop when you get down to the skin.” Or put another way, when you kill the goose that’s already laying golden eggs, golden egg production comes to a halt.

Colin McNickle is a senior fellow and media specialist at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org