Despite Reed’s comments, liquor privatization still a major component of Republican budget plans

Tuesday, House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) made waves when he said liquor privatization will not hold up budget negotiations.

Less than a day after those remarks were made, Rep. Reed and others were quick to point out that those remarks do not mean the issue is off the table or that it has taken a different priority level than before.

“I don’t know why anybody would want to take a revenue source off the table right now,” Rep. Reed told The PLS Reporter.

He said if a revenue source is removed from the table, something has to be removed from the expenditure side as well.

“Liquor is going to be in the House and Senate budget,” he said. “It’s $200 million worth of revenue that we believe can be used for education. If the governor—who has said that he’s very committed to more money for education—wants to take $200 million off the table for education, that’s his choice.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Turzai: Senate and House Republicans have a budget deal

Turzai: Senate and House Republicans have a budget deal

According to House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), House and Senate Republicans have agreed to a budget and other component pieces that will begin moving within the next several days to meet the June 30 budget deadline.

“There will be a [budget] bill moving on Saturday with the concurrence on Monday,” he said. “We’re ready to go.”

At this point, he said he does not see agreement with the governor likely based upon the governor’s insistence on tax increases.

“The governor has not moved away from a single tax,” he said. “He has asked for a tax increase in the first year of $5 billion in taxes and then it increases to $8 billion in the second year. He hasn’t moved away from a single tax."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
VIDEO: Sec. Hanger provides reaction to Republican decision on no severance tax

VIDEO: Sec. Hanger provides reaction to Republican decision on no severance tax

After  a Wednesday budget meeting on energy issues, secretary of Policy and Planning John Hanger gave his reaction to the Republicans refusal of accepting a severance tax on natural gas extracts. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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Scarnati: “We are not sending the governor a severance tax”

Scarnati: “We are not sending the governor a severance tax”

A negotiating session over Pennsylvania’s energy issues that lead to a discussion on a natural gas severance tax broke down after about 45 minutes as Republicans at the negotiating table refused to accept any severance tax on natural gas extracts.

“We are not sending the governor a severance tax,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) upon leaving Wednesday’s meeting. “We’re working in the timeframe of June 30 and there is no severance tax on the table and I don’t see the future of a severance tax on the table as we work today.”

Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) also took part in the discussions and said the current impact fee is working and the issue of getting additional money from natural gas should be left at that.

“We do not understand why there’s a punitive approach to this industry,” he said. “It has been behind significant job growth…and it smacks to me that for political purposes the governor is interested in shutting down that job growth and shutting down our drive for energy independence."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Controversial minimum royalty bill reintroduced in the House

Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) is once again leading the charge on legislation that would protect natural gas leaseholders against drilling companies deducting post-production costs from royalties due to the leaseholders to the point where the royalties fall below those guaranteed by the Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act.

Last session, Rep. Everett was the prime sponsor of House Bill 1684, which was heavily debated but failed to get a full vote from the House of Representatives after it was dogged by industry concerns.

“We fought for this legislation in the previous session in the form of House Bill 1684 and did not get a full floor vote,” said Rep. Everett in a statement. “We were able to get bipartisan support from the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee last session and hope to get that again, but we will also press very hard for the full House to consider it. I believe it is imperative that we gain fairness for conventional and Marcellus natural gas land owners and operators.”

The bill is co-prime sponsored by Representatives Matt Baker (R-Tioga), Tina Pickett (R-Bradford), and Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna).

Tuesday, June 23, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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