Want to know what someone thinks about Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto last night of the Republican-crafted Pennsylvania budget? Ask their view on a severance tax on natural gas drilling.
Not surprisingly, reaction to the move falls along these lines: Supporters of the levy are happy that Wolf put the kibosh on a spending plan that didn’t consider his campaign promise to increase taxes on the industry. Those who think shale companies are paying enough took Wolf to task.
“It is unfortunate that the governor has made a severance tax on natural gas production his primary line (in) the sand in the debate over the budget,” said Lou D’Amico, head of the Marshall-based Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association.
D’Amico, who has fought against the added tax since Wolf made it a focus of his campaign last year, picked apart the governor’s strategy of painting opponents as anti-education.
“Why not place an excise tax on Gov. Wolf’s former cabinet making business to help fund education? If the governor opposed that idea because of its negative effect on the sale of cabinets, would he be against education and children?” D’Amico asked in a statement this morning.
PennFuture, an environmental group that pushes for tighter regulation of the industry, prodded supporters on its website to make their opinions known on taxes, too.
“We need to keep the pressure on. Tell your legislator that a serious budget must include a severance tax that invests in energy efficiency programs and a clean energy future,”the group said.
Wolf’s office took to Twitter to emphasize the points he made in announcing his veto. Note the top two bullets: