SEIU-PA Radio Ad Backs Republican’s Marcellus Tax Proposal
By Sari Heidenreich, Contributing Writer
The SEIU Pennsylvania State Council is backing an proposal by Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) that would assess a 4.7 percent tax on Marcellus shale gas drilling, with 44 percent of revenue directed to state programs.
The group is bankrolling a radio ad which asks individuals and legislators to support DiGirolamo’s amendment to HB 1950, the Marcellus Shale impact fee bill currently awaiting a vote in the Pa. House.
The ad begins airing tomorrow in southeastern PA, and SEIU-PA has plans to expand to other parts of the state next week. The buy is expected to go into tens of thousands of dollars.
“Gas drillers in Pennsylvania are making record profits every year — and they’re not paying their fair share … many pay no state taxes at all,” the ad says. “ The State House is poised to pass a bill that is a giveaway to gas drillers who are making billions while doing nothing to address cuts in programs for our kids, seniors and the disabled.”
SEIU-PA encourages support of DiGirolamo’s amendment on the grounds that it, “would hold these big companies accountable while also funding critical health care programs and ensuring our kids receive a quality education.”
There are currently two competing impact fee proposals in the legislature: one from Gov. Tom Corbett, and one from Senate President Pro Temp Joe Scarnati. According to Scott Detrow over at StateImpact Pennsylvania, both proposals would cap initial fees at $40,000-per-well and gradually decrease the cap to $10,000-per-well. Under Corbett’s plan, 75 percent of the fee would be split between the county and municipalities and the remaining 25 percent would be divided among PennDOT, PEMA, DEP, the state fire commissioner’s office, and the Public Utility Commission.
The bills differ mainly regarding who assesses the levy — Corbett opting to keep it at the county level and Scarnati leaving it at the state level.
SEIU spokeswoman Lynsey Kryzwick said families represented by SEIU PA have been working to support a moderate gas severance tax and that “the group has been rallying in support of this type of legislation statewide.”
DiGirolamo’s proposal has received wide support among Democrats, labor groups and environmentalists, but it seems unlikely to pass muster as it would force Corbett to violate his no tax pledge.
A full transcript of the ad is below:
“We’ve all seen on the news how Wall St. and the big banks are walking all over the middle class. And now it looks like big gas companies are about to do the same thing. Gas drillers in Pennsylvania are making record profits every year — and they’re not paying their fair share. In fact, unlike the rest of us, many pay no state taxes at all. But it seems like those in power in Harrisburg just aren’t listening. The State House is poised to pass a bill that is a giveaway to gas drillers who are making billions while doing nothing to address cuts in programs for our kids, seniors and the disabled. We need a common sense, bi-partisan approach. Buck County Republican legislator Dean DiGiralimo has proposed an amendment that would hold these big companies accountable while also funding critical health care programs and ensuring our kids receive a quality education.
Tell you legislator to vote yes on the DiGiralimo amendment: the right approach for Pennsylvania. Brought to you by the SEIU Pennsylvania State Council.”