Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell wants the Senate to return to work Monday, Columbus Day to "honor their commitment" and approve a severance tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas. The Senate is scheduled to work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and then adjourn for the year.
Rendell says lawmakers promised when they approved the budget in July to pass a severance tax by October 1st. The House okayed a severance tax last week.....39 cents per thousand cubic feet of gas....but Senate Republicans have said that's too high. The Senate GOP leaders also say the House-passed tax is illegal because all revenue measures must start in the House, and the tax was amended into a Senate bill.
Rendell said he and the General Assembly made a promise to Pennsylvanians.... “Legislators are shirking their duty and breaking their promise. The commitment to enact a severance tax is now a week past due, and it’s essential that we honor that commitment.”
Rendell invited legislative leaders to meet with him and industry officials on Oct. 11, when state offices will be closed for Columbus Day. But the Senate Republican Caucus issued a statement saying they won't be there, that they have been working on a tax.