Traitorous PA Senate Republicans Pass Severance Tax Bill

7/31/17 Update: MDN has heard from several credible sources that the information we previously received and referenced which says everyone (including natural gas electric plants) would have to pay the new 5.7% gross receipts tax is incorrect. Natural gas electric plants will NOT have to pay the GRT. We regret the mistake. However, it does not lessen the betrayal by Yaw and other Republicans.

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Senate voted 26-24 to pass a so-called compromise budget bill that adopts a Marcellus-killing severance tax. What’s most distressing about the situation is the betrayal of Senators like Gene Yaw, of northeastern PA. The bill not only raises taxes on drillers, slapping a severance tax on top of the existing impact fee, it also slaps a 5.7% gross receipt tax (GRT, or “usage tax”) on natural gas used by homes and businesses, meaning PA gas bills will go up starting August 1st (if the bill passes the House, more on that in a moment). The GRT tax is a blow to natural gas-fired electric plants, which will now have to pay much more for the gas they use–meaning their profitability is now in jeopardy. Yaw has two such plants in his district: Panda Liberty Generation Plant (Bradford County) and Panda Patriot Power Plant (Lycoming County). Does Yaw realize he’s just screwed the pooch for his own constituents? Does he care? Another NEPA Senator who voted for this terrible bill is John Blake, Democrat from the Scranton area. He has a new power plant project in his district: Invenergy in Jessup (Lackawanna County). And Republican Senator John Gorder, also in NEPA (voted for this disastrous bill) has two natgas power plant projects in his district: Caithness Freedom Generation Plan in Benton (Columbia County) and Panda Hummel station (Snyder County). Each of them now must be targeted for defeat in the next election. What happens now? The bill has gone to the PA House for consideration. The pressure on the House, and Speaker Mike Turzai, is intense. The Senate has done a big disservice to the House by not getting agreement ahead of time. But we deal with the cards in our hand. What’s going to happen now?…

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