Regarding the news story “Senators discussing mix of taxes to help close Pennsylvania's budget gap” : The Legislature should consider quickly passing House Bill 1684. This bill would restore the guaranteed minimum royalty on natural-gas drilling leases to 12.5 percent, which was the standard rate until the courts gutted it last year by allowing gas companies to deduct production costs.
Without the gas-company deductions, the royalty owner would have more income to pay taxes on, so there would be more income-tax revenue. In addition, royalties paid to local people are spent in the local economy, which promotes local business and also generates sales tax revenue.
Frances G. Vazquez
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