Thursday, November 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Lawmakers kill gas tax, so Gov. Rendell kills tax break?

As you've probably heard, the tax on natural gas extraction is officially dead. But it's not the only big piece of legislation that died in Harrisburg today. Gov. Ed Rendell vetoed a massive education bill that included a tax break to landlords of a small number of charter schools.

Lawmakers kill gas tax, so Gov. Rendell kills tax break?

As you've probably heard, the tax on natural gas extraction is officially dead. But it's not the only big piece of legislation that died in Harrisburg today. Gov. Ed Rendell vetoed a massive education bill that included a tax break to landlords of a small number of charter schools.

Gov. Rendell says the tax break is unconstitutional, because it violates the uniformity clause of the state constitution. We won't comment on that particular issue. But we couldn't help but notice something about the legislation:

The office of Sen. Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware), who sponsored the bill, said it would affect just three schools: the Collegium and Avon Grove charter schools in Chester County and the School Lane Charter School in Bucks County.

Does this look like payback to anyone else? Two of the three schools are in Chester County, which is represented by Sen. Pileggi. Pileggi, who is the top Republican in the State Senate, played a key role in defeating the natural gas extraction tax. (After all, it was the Senate where the tax ultimately died after being passed by the State House.) We're as upset as anyone else about the failure of the gas tax, but if retaliation is what's going on here, we can't help but think this it's a bad way to govern.

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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