Knocking on a gas tax

Posted by By at 30 September, at 14 : 10 PM Print

Rancor has barely subsided over the House’s rammed through tax (SB 1155) on natural gas. Representative Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) stood in lock-step with most House Republicans in a failed attempt to stop the tax bill dead in its tracks.

“There is no excuse for the manner in which the House Democrat leadership crammed this legislation though the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Through a possibly unconstitutional manipulation of House rules, Senate Bill 1155, originally designated as the County Officer and Employee Fiscal Security Act, was magically transformed into a severance tax bill.”

Representative Seth Grove (R-Dover) put it this way, “Not only was the way in which this proposal was brought to the floor dubious, but I also question the constitutionality of the measure because revenue bills must originate in the House. If you have to use procedural tricks to get the legislation to the floor, it says a lot about the bill’s merits. Because of the way in which the bill came up, we were only able to consider one amendment to improve the legislation, which required a rule suspension.

The Senate has three voting days left in the session, to whip SB 1155 in to a shape the republican majority can feel comfortable with saying yes to, or desperately needed revenue will evaporate. That opens the door, to a strong possibility that Pennsylvania will become the first natural gas producing state in the country not to impose a severance tax.

House Democrats characterized the bill as a fair and reasonable way to hold the gas industries feet to the fire.

“Working families across Pennsylvania pay their fair share of taxes; it’s about time big oil and big natural gas do the same,’ said House Majority Leader Todd Eachus, (D-Luzerne).

The senate, is working with a self-imposed deadline, to vote on the bill by the end of business Today, but getting it through four legislative caucuses is daunting, let alone getting it to the senate floor for a vote.

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