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Governor Proposes 2012-2013 Budget Next Week; No Deal Announced Yet on Marcellus

The state legislature’s “Budget season” officially starts with the Governor’s budget address on February 7. The state still faces difficult financial times, with no easy answers in sight.

Pennsylvania collected $2.2 billion in General Fund revenue in January, which was $10.4 million, or 0.5 percent, less than anticipated, Secretary of Revenue Daniel Meuser reported today. Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $13.8 billion, $497.2 million, or 3.5 percent, below estimate.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati is still hopeful that a deal on natural gas severance fee can be reached this month, and many organizations are pushing for a tax to be enacted to help carry the state’s financial burden.

According to a report recently released by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, the state has lost more than $300 million in revenue since 2009 by not passing a tax on natural gas production.

The tax and budget policy research nonprofit said its drilling tax ticker breached the benchmark on Monday. The ticker uses monthly well-drilling reports to calculate the average total production and estimates taxes lost based on the 5 percent tax proposed by former Gov. Ed Rendell in 2009, as well as the 4.7-cent fixed surcharge per 1,000 cubic-feet of gas produced.