Governor Tom Corbett is not using the words severance tax — two words that are apparently taboo for Corbett when talking about Marcellus Shale, but Corbett seems to have softened his hard-line opposition to taxing the industry.
Corbett perhaps buckled at the knees during a news conference at the Capitol on Wednesday, saying he could support municipalities in their effort to collect money from drillers, so long as the cash remains tied to those towns and cities.
Corbett told the Inquirer, “I understand that there is an impact to the local communities, and I believe that in some way, shape, or form, we need to address that impact.”
Leaders in local communities tell Rock The Capital that the gas drilling industry is putting a heavy burden on the obvious, wear and tear to roads, but also the not so obvious, health clinics, fire departments, and on and on.
Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Allegeheny) says a fee based system is unworkable because it will solve few of the problems that are ailing communities, “Governor Corbett and Republicans in the legislature are trying to do an end run around his pledge to not raise taxes,” Ferlo said. “His call to impose a ‘local fee’ would not address the myriad impacts that the deep well drilling industry brings to our Commonwealth. Ferlo favors a severance tax.
Corbett held fast and hard on his campaign promise not to put a single dime of an extraction tax into the state’s general fund. His belief is that a severance will slow growth or kill the industry altogether in Pennsylvania.
“Money that goes into the general fund? No. Money to the locals? Money to the counties? I would sit down and listen to that,” said Corbett.
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