If Delegate Lisa Zukoff is indeed correct that West Virginia is losing millions of dollars in potential revenue each year because some out-of-state residents aren’t paying taxes on the royalties they receive for oil and natural gas holdings, then shame on lawmakers for not working immediately to fix the problem.
Zukoff will introduce legislation this session requiring natural gas companies to collect taxes on those royalties and submit them to the state.
“For now, it’s a matter of property owners being trusted to send the tax in on their own,” she said. “It is not fair that out-of-state residents don’t have to pay the same taxes West Virginians do in their own state. This became a mission of mine last year.”
The measure passed the House Energy Committee in 2021, but stalled in the Finance Committee as several energy companies objected to collecting taxes. Zukoff pointed out that they’re already required to do it in Pennsylvania, and West Virginia lawmakers should require them to do the same.
The state is not in a strong enough financial position to throw away millions in revenue. Lawmakers should address this immediately and support Zukoff’s efforts.