Governor Ed Rendell has made it clear he'll push for a natural gas severance tax this year, but the top Republican running to succeed him says he doesn't think Pennsylvania needs a levy on gas extractions.
Attorney General Tom Corbett, the front-runner in this year's Republican gubernatorial primary, says even without a severance tax, he's confident natural gas drilling will produce revenue for the state.
"If you talk about the private citizens and the money they're getting, they are going to be providing revenue to us through the income tax. You have people that live on land and made 30-thousand dollars a year. Now they're making, in some cases, 30-thousand dollars a month in a royalty fee."
Corbett says the 18-percent royalties from drilling on state forest land will also provide income for the commonwealth.
Governor Rendell says the 128 million dollars companies recently bid to drill on state land is proof the industry has the resources to afford a tax, but Corbett disagrees.
He says if Pennsylvania imposes a shale tax, drilling companies may walk away from the land, instead of setting up operations in what he calls an unfavorable business climate.