Governor Rendell Calls Special Columbus Day Meeting with Legislative Leaders to Work on Promised Severance Tax Bill

Oct 08, 2010, 14:32 ET from Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today asked leaders of the General Assembly to return to Harrisburg on Oct. 11, a state holiday, to "get to work" on passing a severance tax on natural gas extraction.

When finalizing the budget over the summer, legislators agreed to pass a severance tax by Oct. 1.

"We made a promise to the people of Pennsylvania, and I intend to honor it," Governor Rendell said. "Legislators are shirking their duty and breaking their promise. The commitment to enact a severance tax is now a week past due, and it's essential that we honor that commitment."

The Governor has invited legislative leaders to meet with him and industry officials on Oct. 11, when state offices will be closed for Columbus Day.

The Governor commended the House of Representatives for passing a "reasonable" severance tax bill, but said the measure generated nothing but "carping and criticism" in the Senate. He noted the Senate has thus far refused to offer a counter-proposal.

"The time for posturing is over; the time to get to work on passing a serious bill is Monday at 1:30," the Governor added.

Editor's Note: the text of the Governor's Oct. 8 letter to legislative leaders follows:

TO:

The Honorable Joseph B. Scarnati, III

The Honorable Robert J. Mellow

The Honorable Keith R. McCall

The Honorable Samuel H. Smith

Dear Sirs,

During budget negotiations earlier this year, the Senate and House Leadership made a public commitment to enact a Marcellus Shale severance tax by October 1, 2010.  It is now one week past that deadline.  The House of Representatives has fulfilled its obligation by passing a severance tax proposal and sending it on to the Senate.  In the days that followed, the Senate has not made a counter proposal.  

Since I signed the Fiscal Code, which contained the Oct. 1st promise, I, as well as you, made a commitment to the people of this Commonwealth.  It is my intention to see that that commitment is honored, even if it is a few days late.  In order to achieve that goal, we must stop the carping and criticizing and reach an agreement on a bill that will allow us to continue to meet the environmental challenges that shale drilling creates, that will give us the resources to send to our county and local governments so that they can meet the economic burdens that drilling activity presents to them and that allows the industry to continue to provide economic benefits to the Commonwealth.

Toward that end, I am asking all Legislative Leaders to meet with me and representatives of the industry on Monday, October 11, 2010 at 1:30 p.m. in the Governor's Office in Room 238 of the Main Capitol.

I will see you then.

Sincerely yours,

Edward G. Rendell, Governor

cc:  

The Honorable Dominic Pileggi

The Honorable Jacob Corman

The Honorable Todd A. Eachus

The Honorable Dwight Evans

The Honorable Jay Costa

The Honorable William F. Adolph Jr.

Media contact: Gary Tuma, 717-783-1116

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor



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