Report: Shale Tax Seen as Likely

Money needed to fill growing state budget deficit.

State lawmakers are increasingly looking at a fracking tax to close the state’s $1.5 billion budget deficit, regardless of whether Gov. Tom Corbett or Tom Wolf wins the governorship this fall. A 5 percent tax — that’s the kind proposed by Wolf — would generate $500 million annually, and that prospect has attracted the attention of even nominally anti-tax Republicans.

Anthony May, a former aide to the late Gov. Robert P. Casey, predicts Corbett will sign a fracking tax for the Marcellus Shale even before the election. It’s the kind of Nixon-goes-to-China moment that may be required for Corbett to save his hold on office.

“He’s fought this long and hard,” May said. “Better for Corbett to sign the shale tax than have Tom Wolf beat him over the head in TV ads in October.”

But the gas industry remains opposed.

“Uncompetitive, shortsighted new taxes on one of our most promising industries will lead to fewer jobs, lower energy production and less tax revenues,” said Marcellus Shale Coalition President Dave Spigelmyer. (TribLive)