Scarnati Knows a Severance Tax Would Pass If Brought Up for a Vote

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Scarnati said he opposes a severance tax. But he declined to rule it out. There’s “some level of support” in all four caucuses of both parties in House and Senate for a severance tax, he said. But there’s “not majority votes in the House and Senate Republican caucuses at this point,” Scarnati said. With the industry reeling from low gas prices, “I liken a shale tax to Detroit, during the Clutch Plague, putting a tax on automobiles,” Scarnati said.

A bunch of Southeast Republicans ran for reelection as liberals in 2014, saying they supported a severance tax and restoring the Republican cuts to education. If they had to vote on the severance tax plan, they’d vote for it, and so would most Democrats. Very probably it would pass.

The problem is that Republicans don’t want to bring it up for an up-or-down vote. They are going by the “Hastert Rule” used in Washington – the majority of the majority principle. Senate Republicans won’t bring up anything that doesn’t have a majority of their caucus, so we’re stuck.

How this all ends is that Tom Wolf is going to veto anything that doesn’t address his top three priorities, and Republicans don’t have the votes for a veto override. They’re ultimately going to have to give Wolf something close to what he wants.

The first step to stop holding up the public’s business here is to dispense with the Hastert Rule, put the severance tax up for a vote, and let the Southeast Republicans take the vote that everybody knows they’re eventually going to take here.

A stop-gap is a total non-starter. You see the way this plays out in Washington all the time. We extend that Corbett budget once, and we’ll be stuck extending it every six months for Wolf’s entire term.

(Via Pittsburgh Tribune Review)

This entry was posted in Miscellany.

2 Responses to Scarnati Knows a Severance Tax Would Pass If Brought Up for a Vote

  1. Pingback: 7/15 Morning Buzz | PoliticsPA

  2. bill22 says:

    Southeastern PA legislators (Philly) are all for it. That in itself tells the tale.