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Will natural gas tax increase kill jobs?

The natural gas industry is extremely diversified across hundreds of companies in West Virginia. Almost every service needed to take gas from thousands of feet below the earth’s surface to the eventual customer is contracted to an enormous number of specialists — each working for a separate entity.

Engineers, contractors, trucking companies, pipeliners, drillers and safety experts all come together to make the system work. This is in addition to the numerous natural gas producers that hire these contractors.

So when the governor of West Virginia announced the single largest tax increase on natural gas in the state’s history — there were a huge number of companies that took notice. Decisions on where to produce natural gas are based on economics. West Virginia has been competitive — even when natural gas is already taxed at almost twice the rate of coal. But to increase it further would only drive business away. Thousands of jobs in West Virginia would be in jeopardy.

Companies like ours that provide directional drilling and trenching are not counted in the state’s calculations of companies that will end up suffering because of this proposed natural gas tax. Our company employs West Virginians who have jobs because of an industry that already pays hundreds of millions of dollars every single year to West Virginia and has invested billions of dollars in the Mountain State.

The West Virginia Legislature should absolutely fight against this massive job-killing tax increase on the natural gas industry by the governor.

K.J. Woody

Buckhannon

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