Friday, December 26, 2014

Ridge With Onorato, Not Corbett, On Gas Tax Plan

Well this can't be very convenient for state Attorney General Tom Corbett, the Republican nominee for governor in Tuesday's general election. Former Gov. Tom Ridge told John Micek, the Morning Call of Allentown's man in Harrisburg, yesterday that an extraction tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling in the state would not harm taxpayers or the industry and help pay for environmental impacts.

Ridge With Onorato, Not Corbett, On Gas Tax Plan

Well this can't be very convenient for state Attorney General Tom Corbett, the Republican nominee for governor in Tuesday's general election.  Former Gov. Tom Ridge told John Micek, the Morning Call of Allentown's man in Harrisburg, yesterday that an extraction tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling in the state would not harm taxpayers or the industry and help pay for environmental impacts.

If that sounds familiar, it's because that is the position of Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, the Democratic nominee for governor.  One key area of disagreement between the candidates has been the extraction tax.  Onorato wants to keep it out of the state's general fund, using it only for environmental regulation, infrastructure repairs in areas where drilling occurs and and a fund to preserve open land.  Corbett flatly rejects any type of tax, even though every state with significant natural gas drilling has one, claiming that it will harm an industry that can create 80,000 jobs in the state.

Ridge, who endorsed Corbett last year, would know at least a little about the subject, since he is a "strategic adviser" to the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry lobbying group.  Onorato's camp jumped on the issue today, accusing Corbett of running false attack ads on television accusing the Democrat of supporting a "massive energy tax that will increase utility rates and kill jobs."

Onorato also pointed out that Corbett has taken $850,000 in campaign contributions from the natural gas industry. “Tom Corbett is steadfast in doing the bidding of his Big Oil & Gas donors,” the Onorato campaign e-mailed reporters.

UPDATE, 1 pm:  Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley responds: "Tom Corbett is against a severance tax. Period.  He respects and admires Gov. Ridge, however they disagree on this issue."

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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