With the Pennsylvania Senate likely gone for the year, environmental advocates are losing hope a natural gas severance tax will become law.
Senate Republican leaders have said they’re willing to come back and pass a measure but only if House Democratic leaders agree to a specific set of demands on the tax rate, revenue distribution, drilling safety issues, and other provisions.
Jan Jarrett, the president and CEO of PennFuture, is urging the upper chamber to come back before the election.
"They have the opportunity to come back. There’s no excuse for them not to come back and finish up their business. And come back to work, essentially, and get unfinished business done. All of us who have jobs have to come to work. We have to finish what we started."
She reminds House and Senate leaders they legally pledged to pass a severance tax, with language in this year’s fiscal code.
"And if they don’t, Pennsylvania taxpayers should be as angry as they were over the midnight pay raise in 2005. This is serious business."
Work is continuing behind the scenes. Top Republican and Democratic staffers met for two hours on Friday. They’re scheduled to continue talks today.