Pennsylvania

Energy. Environment. Economy.

Shell’s Cracker Tax Break Means Lost Revenue For Beaver County Community

Scott Detrow / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Monaca, Beaver County, near the possible future site of Shell's ethane cracker

Shell is considering building a multi-billion dollar chemical processing plant in Beaver County. Pennsylvania’s pitch to the company revolves around two major tax breaks: a $2.10-a-barrel tax break on ethane Shell purchases from Pennsylvania drillers, and a 15-year tax exemption called a “Keystone Opportunity Zone.”

As the Post-Gazette’s Pipeline reports, that second tax break translate to a lot of lost revenue for the community where the ethane cracker would be built:

Central Valley School District would lose $275,000 in property taxes if the land for the proposed ethane “cracker” plant becomes a tax-exempt Keystone Opportunity Zone. Potter would lose about $40,000 in property tax revenue — about 7 percent of the annual budget for the rural township.

Those dollar figures represent the property taxes currently paid by the Horsehead Corp., officials told members of the House Appropriations Committee during a hearing Tuesday at the Community College of Beaver County in Monaca. The zinc smelting company has remaining operations that cover about 300 acres and still have about 600 employees.

If the Horsehead land is eventually used to house the Shell project, businesses there would be exempt from state and local property taxes for 15 years under legislation proposed by Gov. Tom Corbett and passed by the Legislature in February. An additional 25-year tax break on ethane purchased for the facility was passed in June.

The exemptions are expected to exceed more than $1 billion.

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