The fiscal code bill Governor Ed Rendell signed Tuesday afternoon in Towanda, Bradford County contained a provision that the legislature would vote by October 1 on a proposal to impose a severance tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas.
Leaders have just about agreed on taxing gas extraction but the rate, probably between 5% and 8%, and how the revenues would be distributed among the state, host municipalities and environmental programs have not been resolved.
Marcellus Shale Coalition President Kathryn Klaber says the fiscal code language about the severance tax proposal includes a commitment by elected leaders to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of "how best to seize on the opportunities of the Marcellus in the future, and do so in a manner that benefits all Pennsylvanians."
Klaber called on state lawmakers not to look at the severance tax in a vacuum, that there is more at stake than putting a little extra money in state coffers....."we need an updated and modernized regulatory and legislative framework, and a fair tax strategy that keeps our state ahead of the curve in attracting the investment needed to bring these resources to the surface."
Klaber would not say what rate of severance tax she would consider to be acceptable.