Contact Information 

District Offices
Tiadaghton Valley Mall
Room 105
701 Allegheny Street, Box 4
Jersey Shore, PA 17740
(570) 398-4476

Closed for lunch: 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thursdays 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Closed Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Penn Hills Plaza, Halls Station
21 Kristi Road
Suite 1
Muncy, PA 17756
(570) 546-2084

Closed for lunch: 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Capitol Office
Hon. Garth Everett
401 Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202084
Harrisburg PA 17120-2084
(717) 787-5270
Fax: (717) 772-9958

E-Mail:  
geverett@pahousegop.com

Everett Disappointed by Mishandling of the Marcellus Shale Tax Issue
9/29/2010

Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) today issued the following statement concerning both the substance of, and process in which, Senate Bill 1155 was passed by the House of Representatives today:

 

“There is no excuse for the manner in which the House Democrat leadership crammed this legislation through the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.  Through a possibly unconstitutional manipulation of House rules, Senate Bill 1155, originally designated as the County Officer and Employee Fiscal Security Act, was magically transformed into a severance tax bill.  We had no opportunity to see this bill until just before close of business Monday. We had no opportunity to offer amendments to it and had limited time to analyze and debate it. This is not the kind of process, in its presentation and timing, that legislation that will have a massive impact on the Commonwealth, deserves. 

 

“More than 30 amendments were filed to the previous version of this bill by members from both sides of the aisle, and each of those amendments deserved to be debated and voted. Instead, they were wiped out to stifle any meaningful discussion of alternative ideas and views on how a severance tax should be implemented.

 

"During the debate on Tuesday evening, when it became apparent that there was not enough support to pass the bill, the Speaker and the Majority Leader, in another questionable manipulation of House rules, quickly allowed a vote on an amendment to the bill which increased the amount of dollars allocated to the Growing Greener Fund and decreased the percentages going to the Fish and Boat Commission and the General Fund.  While this slight shift of the allocation of the proceeds pleased some of the environmental groups across the State, it did nothing to make this a good bill for the areas of the State in which the Marcellus activity is taking place.  In fact, by shifting dollars away from the Fish and Boat Commission, an agency which needs to hire more enforcement officers to ensure that our creeks, rivers and watersheds are not degraded by this development, the amendment, which supposedly is good for the environment, actually weakens our Commonwealth's ability to police this industry.

“As a result of this manipulation of the legislative process, the members of the House were faced with simply making an up or down vote on a piece of legislation which puts 73 percent of the proceeds of the tax into the general fund this year, 52 percent next year and only allocates 7.5 percent  to deal with local impacts and environmental concerns of the Marcellus development. 

 

This bill was opposed by organizations including the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and, as far as I can tell, is only supported by environmental groups and House members supporting continued expansion of Pennsylvania's General Fund.

 

“The tax itself will be the highest severance tax in the country and, when combined with Pennsylvania’s other unfriendly business taxes, will certainly give the gas industry reason to question whether the Marcellus gas play in Pennsylvania is where they want to invest their future efforts.  Rather than calculating what a reasonable tax rate would be to ensure that the Commonwealth is fairly compensated for the extraction of this very valuable natural resource, the tax rate was calculated to fill a budget gap in the general fund.  We here in Pennsylvania have an opportunity to become a leader in the production of clean energy in the United States and to enjoy the economic prosperity that will come with that development.  Instead, we are choosing to put up a ‘We don't want your business’ sign to the gas industry.

 

“I am disappointed at the total lack of responsibility that has been displayed by the House Democrats on this issue. I have supported, and will support, a disciplined and responsible process to arrive at an agreement on a severance tax that does not simply fill the insatiable void of the General Fund, but instead, sees to the needs of the environment, impacted local communities, and that does not drive out the industry. Government can be a good servant to the people when laws are created in a reasoned, responsible, open and transparent manner. This bill does not deliver on that premise.  If we are going to have a Marcellus Shale severance tax in Pennsylvania, we need to, and can do, a lot better than this.”

 

To view Rep. Everett’s speech on the floor of the House, please visit:

http://media2.pahousegop.com/Generator.asp?videoname=129738751.wmv

 

Rep. Garth D. Everett
84th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
(570) 546-2084
(717) 787-5270

Contact:  Raymond Smith

rsmith@pahousegop.com

(717) 705-1834

Member Site:  RepEverett.com

Caucus Site:  PAHouseGOP.com

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