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Former Gov. Ridge Says Latest Corbett Attack Ad Wrong on Marcellus Shale

Former Gov. Ridge Says Latest Corbett Attack Ad Wrong on Marcellus Shale

Tom Corbett’s anti-taxpayer stance so extreme that even former Gov. Ridge, Newt Gingrich, Senate GOP disagree
 
PITTSBURGH: As Harrisburg Republican Tom Corbett launched yet another attack ad to defend the Big Oil & Gas donors who have given over $850,000 for his election efforts, former Gov. Tom Ridge – a chairman of Corbett’s campaign – said the current GOP gubernatorial nominee is flat-out wrong. 
 
Corbett wants the taxpayers to pay for addressing the environmental and infrastructure problems caused by drilling. He opposes a Marcellus shale severance tax like all other gas-producing states already have, so that the oil and gas industry can police itself and force residents and businesses to bear the costs of clean-up. 
 
In his latest ad, Corbett falsely accuses Onorato of supporting a “massive energy tax that will increase utility rates and kill jobs.”
 
But even Corbett’s campaign chairman disagrees.
 
The Allentown Morning Call reported that Gov. Ridge said that taxpayers would “feel no personal impact and would be getting something in return for it.” 
 
“It wouldn’t affect them,” Gov. Ridge said, according to Morning Call reporter John Micek. Gov. Ridge said the proceeds from a severance tax on Marcellus shale should be “put toward regulation and toward wear and tear of roads and other infrastructure” – which is precisely the framework that Onorato, a strong supporter of responsible Marcellus shale development that will create jobs for Pennsylvanians, proposed last January.
 
Earlier this week, potential Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich indicated he is in favor of an “appropriate” severance tax in Pennsylvania. [Capitol Ideas, 10/26/2010]
 
And five members of the state Senate Republican caucus wrote a letter calling for a severance tax to be enacted this fall. [Associated Press, 10/26/2010]
 
So why is Tom Corbett to the right of even the right-wing of his party?
 
On Monday, the non-partisan organization Common Cause and the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania reported that Corbett has received over $850,000 in campaign contributions from the gas drillers – making him the industry’s top recipient in Pennsylvania over the last decade. From mid-September to mid-October, Corbett received over $4,000 per day from the oil and gas companies to keep his attack ads running.
 
“Tom Corbett is steadfast in doing the bidding of his Big Oil & Gas donors,” said Onorato Communications Director Brian Herman. “Dan Onorato is the only candidate who is going to protect the taxpayers while ensuring that the Marcellus shale creates jobs for Pennsylvanians.”
 
This view is shared by editorial boards across Pennsylvania which have rejected Corbett for his extreme position on the issue:

“Voters looking for change in Harrisburg should not vote for Tom Corbett for governor. That would be placing, in the top executive office in the commonwealth, someone who has sold his soul to the gas drilling companies.” [Pocono Record] 

 “What really turned us off to Corbett was his opposition to any severance tax on gas extracted from the Marcellus shale…. He lost more points when he went to great lengths to downplay the environmental risks of drilling. We don’t buy the argument that a reasonable tax would chase off the gas companies; every other state with drilling levies a tax.” [Doylestown Intelligencer]

“Mr. Corbett’s assertion that he will not raise any tax includes even a fair tax on extraction of natural gas across the booming Marcellus Shale – a policy position so fundamentally contrary to the best interests of Pennsylvanians that, by itself, it could be disqualifying.” [Scranton Times-Tribune]

“Corbett, who has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from gas companies, opposes the gas tax, arguing that a tax will undermine the new industry. But… the drillers should pay for the resource they are taking from the ground.” [Philadelphia Inquirer]
“[Corbett] joins his fellow Republicans in an aversion to a gas-extraction tax, though he outshines them in contributions from the industry: $700,000 according to a recent report.” [Philadelphia Daily News]

“His position on taxing Marcellus shale natural gas drilling is irresponsible in a state with so many budget holes – and his deep well of campaign contributions from the gas industry is troubling.” [York Daily Record]
 
A life-long Pennsylvanian, Dan Onorato was raised in a working class neighborhood on Pittsburgh’s North Side. He graduated college from Penn State and received his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Onorato has served as Allegheny County Executive since 2004 and was unopposed for re-election in 2007.  Prior to being elected County Executive, Onorato served as Allegheny County Controller and a Pittsburgh City Councilman.  Dan and his wife Shelly reside in the Brighton Heights neighborhood of Pittsburgh with their three children.

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