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Study looks at Local Real Property Tax Base and Market Values and Local Revenue Changes in Marcellus Shale Areas

Posted: April 22, 2012

A new study from Penn State considers market values and real property tax bases in determining the impacts of Marcellus shale development in Pennsylvania counties and municipalities

What are the economic impacts of Marcellus shale development on counties and municipalities?   “Real Property Tax Base, Market Values and  Marcellus Shale:  2007 to 2009” is a recent Penn State Center for Economic and Community Development paper which tries to answer this question.  Market and assessed value changes for all Pennsylvania counties and municipalities from 2007 to 2009 (the most recent data available from the Pennsylvania State Tax Equalization Board, or STEB) were analyzed.  Changes in market value can reflect the overall demand for property is changing within the jurisdiction.  The Real Property Tax Base is the total value of assessed properties in a jurisdiction, and can increase or decrease tax revenue if the millage rate remains the same.
An analysis of market value change at the county level revealed no pattern associated with Marcellus shale drilling, whereas municipalities with more Marcellus activity had a greater average change in market value compared to areas with no or fewer Marcellus wells.  Similar to market values, there was no clear pattern between changes in the real property tax base and the level of drilling activity for counties; municipalities with Marcellus wells experienced a slightly higher real property tax base increase, but it didn’t seem to relate to the scale of drilling activity.
The study indicates that based on the data thus far, Marcellus shale development has had only minor impact on total property values and the real property tax base for Pennsylvania counties.  On the municipal level, a slightly higher than average increase in total market values within the municipalities with shale development has been noted.  The increase suggests that the overall market price increases are a combination of property improvements and overall increase in demand for existing parcels.
It is too early to determine the local impact fees impact on communities.  The study also mentions potential differences on an individual basis versus looking at a whole county or municipality.  As Marcellus shale development is an ever-changing activity in the Commonwealth, it is important to continue to monitor and analyze the data over time to determine effects on communities. 
To read the complete report, please visit the Center for Economic and Community Development webpage