Thursday, September 30, 2010

Republican Senator Plans Opposition to Democratic House Passage in PA

A top Pennsylvania Republican rejected a Democratic-sponsored plan for taxing natural gas production on Wednesday, vowing to stop a bill that he said would drive energy companies out of the state.
The opposition will force Governor Ed Rendell, a Democrat, to seek a compromise between Democratic and Republic plans.
Sen. Joseph Scarnati said a bill proposing to tax gas drillers 39 cents per 1,000 cubic feet of gas produced was "totally unacceptable" and that it would not even go to the Senate floor for a vote.
"We are not going to entertain a tax rate here in the Senate that is punitive to this industry," Scarnati told reporters the day after the bill was approved by the Democratic-controlled House. "It's absolutely ridiculous."
The Democratic plan would raise revenue of $307 million in its first full year and impose a much heavier tax burden on the booming industry in the Marcellus Shale. The Republican proposal would tax at 1.5 percent of the market price for the first three or four years and is favored by the industry.
Lawmakers agreed during this year's budget talks to settle details of the so-called severance tax by Oct. 1, following pressure from Rendell, who has been calling for the tax for two years to boost state revenue and help pay for the environmental costs of gas drilling.

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