Take Back Gifts for Drillers, Restore Common Interests

Most of what we buy is taxed: clothing, cars and a restaurant meal, for instance. But an energy source pulled from the ground – natural gas – is not taxed in Pennsylvania. This revenue source would provide needed funding for our schools and higher education, in addition to infrastructure upgrades.

How about property tax relief? In some counties in this state, we are literally standing on the money.

Much of the gridlock over the current state budget has to do with where to find revenue. However, it is worth noting that one colossal special interest with strong ties to former Gov. Tom Corbett still looms over Harrisburg.

Lawmakers have failed to pass an extraction tax on the natural gas industry — something nearly every other gas-producing state has done. My opponent, Rep. Tom Quigley, voted against taxing the drillers back in October.

It gets worse. The state House recently approved plans to shrink investment in clean energy sources, block regulations on the natural gas drilling industry and delay a review of plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the Keystone State.

These gifts to the fracking industry are not necessary.

While House Republicans like Quigley were playing the blame game over why Pennsylvania still does not have a full budget for a fiscal year that started seven months ago, they did approve what is called the fiscal code.

The fiscal code, which spells out many complex details of the budget, has been called the budget operator’s manual. This year’s version continues the wrong priorities for Pennsylvania’s future and the 146th District, including:

  • Taking $12 million from investment in alternative energy sources and handing it over to natural gas infrastructure development.

  • Blocking new oil and gas drilling regulations proposed by the Corbett administration’s Department of Environmental Protection. These regulations, which would have imposed stricter requirements on drilling locations and stronger standards on spill reporting and cleanup, were an industry target for elimination.

  • Extending the time limit for the General Assembly to review future state plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions (for at least the second time since 2014).

This does not sound like a forward-thinking Pennsylvania. We need innovation in new, cleaner-burning energies, not a return to our polluting past. Let the natural gas drilling industry pay its fair share with a robust extraction tax.

In turn, these revenues will help pay for property tax relief and educational resources for our children. Join my campaign at www.ciresiforpa.com

http://patch.com/pennsylvania/limerick/take-back-gifts-drillers-restore-common-interests

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