Corbett Maintains Hard Line on No Marcellus Shale Tax


As new taxes go, a levy on natural-gas drilling in Pennsylvania would seem like a pretty easy political sell.

Two-thirds of the state’s voters support the idea, several polls indicate.

Politicians are desperate for money to plug a $4 billion budget gap and prevent deep cuts in the state college system and other programs.

Even the industry, not shy about throwing its weight around the statehouse, might not put up much of a fight.

Every other major natural-gas-producing state has some sort of tax, and some of the biggest drillers have said they wouldn’t oppose one here so long as it was reasonable.

Former Gov. Ed Rendell says he struck a deal with industry leaders in an evening meeting at the governor’s mansion in the fall – only to see it evaporate the next night in negotiations with Republican legislators.

“The Marcellus industry has been clear and outspoken on this for a year or so,” said Ray Walker, vice president of Range Resources in Texas and chairman of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group. “We are willing to discuss a severance tax.”

But the new governor isn’t.

In fact, Gov. Corbett, who signed a no-tax pledge during his campaign last year, is far more resolute in his opposition to a tax than many in the industry that would pay it.

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