STATEMENT: On Shale Tax and Cancelled House Session

Marc Stier |

Marc Stier, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, released the following statement on the decision by the House to cancel session days on October 23, 24, and 25:

“We at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center generally don’t comment on when the House chooses to be in session. But the decision by Speaker Mike Turzai and Majority Leader Dave Reed to cancel voting sessions next week—on October 23, 24, and 25—and to do so the day after the House Finance Committee approved a shale tax bill on a bi-partisan basis reeks of both chicanery and desperation.

“For weeks, Democratic and Republican legislators in the House have been working together to devise a shale tax bill that could win bipartisan support in the House. They have been supported by a rapidly expanding group of activists who have sent thousands of letters, made thousands of phone calls, and have recently begun visiting House members in their districts in growing numbers. Speaker Mike Turzai and Majority Leader Dave Reed have made vague promises of not standing in the way of a bipartisan majority of the House doing what a bi-partisan majority in the Senate has already done, that is, passing a shale tax bill.

“And now, Turzai and Reed have decided that the earliest the vote might take place is on November 13 when the House returns to Harrisburg.

“There is no greater sign of the growing strength of pro-shale tax sentiments in the House than this deeply troublesome decision in which Turzai and Reed again thwart not only the majority of members of the House but, also, the vast majority of Pennsylvanians who believe that natural gas drillers should pay their fair share.

“Turzai and Reed can delay action. But sooner rather than later, when bipartisan reason and good sense prevails in Harrisburg, a shale tax will be enacted in our commonwealth as has been done in every other state that sits on a shale formation that contains natural gas.”