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Bipartisan Sponsors Introduce Marcellus Shale Tax Bill

Legislation providing for a severance tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction was introduced this week by Representatives Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks), Tom Murt (R-Montgomery), Pam DeLissio (D-Philadelphia), Ed Gainey (D-Allegheny), and Harry Readshaw (D-Allegheny).
Rep. DiGirolamo said natural gas exploration companies are producing more natural gas than ever in Pennsylvania at an all-time low industry cost. “We are the only large-producing Marcellus Shale gas state that does not have a severance tax. We think it’s reasonable, we think it’s fair, we think it’s the right thing to do, and we believe everybody in Pennsylvania should benefit from this industry,” he said.
The legislation would invest 40 percent of the new generated tax revenue into public school funding. Groups supporting the legislation, which range from environmental organizations to social service workers and providers, say the tax would be fair and reasonable.  They expressed serious doubt whether the tax would truly impact the natural gas industry.  
Rep. Murt commented that if it is true Budget Sec. Charles Zogby will listen to any proposal to close the $1.4 billion deficit, he has the commitment of the legislators here today to work on this proposal to help address the deficit crisis.
Rep. DeLissio said it only makes sense to change the state policy, with new information available on the industry.  “The situation has changed and we are here to do the right thing for the citizens of Pennsylvania,” she said.