No place to go but home for a proposed shale gas tax.

Posted by By at 12 October, at 11 : 55 AM Print

Senate Republicans characterized an hour-long meeting with Governor Ed Rendell as “engaging,” but say they are no closer to ironing out a compromise that would tax drillers for extracting shale gas from the Marcellus.
Rendell offered new proposals on Tuesday (RTC is awaiting details) that differ from the severance bill passed out of the Democratic controlled House last month.
Republican Senator Joe Scarnati says they are still “worlds apart.” There is no way they can move forward working with the proposed tax structure, constitutionality of the House bill, and its lack of exemptions, not to mention that the senate adjourns in three days and does not intend to return until next January.
“Its just stunning to me, that at the last hour, we have the governor walking in to a debate that he did not choose to be part of the entire summer,” said Scarnati.
Republicans have balked at the House measure’s provision for a tax rate of 39 cents for every thousand cubic feet — believing it will drive the industry and jobs out of the state.  Scarnati effectively called it a moratorium bill — wondering if the House’s aim is intentionally to drive the industry out of state.
The Republican leadership has questioned the technical viability of the House bill because in their view its constitutionally flawed. They expect to have a definitive legal answer late this afternoon.
Then there is the conundrum of time. The House has already adjourned and the Senate is three days away from following suit.
“We will continue to work through this, but we are not going to come back after the election. We have said repeatedly, that if there is a good reason we would consider adding days before the election, that remains our position,” said Senate Majority Leader, Dominic Pileggi (R-9th District).
When asked who is to blame if the bill withers on the vine — Scarnati replied,
“I can look anybody in the eye and tell anybody that the Senate Republicans lived up to the intent that we put in the fiscal code to work through a complete policy for the tax {gas} industry.
Even with all the seemingly insurmountable obstacles Senate Republicans have agreed to meet again with the Governor on Wednesday.
To hear more of what Senators’ Scarnatti and Pileggi had to say click here digxsj.


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