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New Buget cuts 3 Million from PA DCNR and PA DEP

30 Jun 2011 3:52 PM | Anonymous

Session Daze Mast

Upcoming PennFuture Events:

Save the dates for these PennFuture events:

  • PennFuture's Annual Post Election Forum 2011
    Harrisburg, PA - 11/15

Pain for taxpayers, pleasure for gas drillers - again
Pennsylvania's just-approved budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year makes deep cuts to basic and higher education, social services, healthcare, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (which was cut $3 million more than the governor proposed) and the Department of Environmental Protection among other programs.

The budget once again does not include a drilling tax or impact fee on the gas drillers. Pennsylvania infamously remains the only major gas drilling state without a drilling tax or fee. ExxonMobil, Shell, Chesapeake and othersundefinedsome of the largest and most profitable corporations on the planetundefinedare expanding their deep gas operations in Pennsylvania. These corporations pay the tax everywhere else and expect to pay it here. And 70 percent of Pennsylvanians want the industry to pay the tax.

A hot summer on the home front
The budget slashed state funding to every school district in the state. You can see the hit to your schools here. Funding for state colleges and universities was also cut.

While the gas drillers laugh all the way to the bank, taxpayers will now be hit with higher property taxes and will still find their districts forced to lay off teachers, increase class sizes and drop important programs. Parents hoping to equip their children for economic success will face higher college tuition that may force many families to delay or abandon the dream of a college education.

Summer back home may be really hot for legislators as they try to explain to their constituents their choice of cutting funding for education, environmental protection, and other vital government services, while once again failing to tax the gas drillers.

No help coming from the Marcellus Shale Commission
Governor Corbett effectively threw cold water on last-minute efforts to enact a drilling tax or fee as part of the budget when he again vowed to veto any bill that contained a tax. He said he wanted to receive the recommendations of his hand-picked Marcellus Shale Commission that are expected in late July. But the governor knows full well that there will be no recommendation on a drilling tax. Lt. Governor Cawley decreed that consideration of a drilling tax was off the table before the deliberations even started.

Partners for jobs
Legislation that will expand the nationally recognized Pennsylvania Industry Partnerships program and enshrine the program into law is heading to the governor's desk. Industry partnerships are collaborations between business, labor, and government to address job training needs, and improve the competitiveness of local businesses. These partnerships are important to the development of green jobs.

Senator Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster and Chester) is the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 552.

Preserving the past, priming the future
Senator Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster and York) has introduced bipartisan legislation that would create tax credits for the rehabilitation of historic commercial buildings. Senate Bill 1150 would allow up to a 25 percent tax credit against qualified rehabilitation expenses. Both the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Department of Community and Economic Development must approve projects seeking the tax credit.

Pennsylvania's tremendous stock of historic buildings is a fundamental part of our sense of place, our quality of life and our economy. Yet we are a national laggard in providing state incentives for the rehabilitation of historic buildings, investments that could play a vital role in the revitalization of older communities and stem the loss of farmland and open space due to sprawl. Pennsylvania is one of four states east of the Mississippi River that tax income but lack a tax credit for rehabilitating historic commercial buildings.

Stop Smeargate against climate scientists
The board of directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science issued a statement on Wednesday calling for an end to harassment of climate scientists that has included death threats, litigation and personal attacks. The statement highlighted the ongoing vicious harassment of Penn State's Dr. Michael Mann, who has endured at least four investigations of the integrity of his work and been vindicated by every one of them.

See you July 15
With the Pennsylvania legislature ready to blow this pop stand for two months, the Podcast and Session Daze are off to the shore - but just for a short while. You won't hear from them next week, but stay tuned. It's going to be a long hot summer and the two will be back - tanned, rested, and ready to do their part.

The staff and board of PennFuture wish all a safe and happy Independence Day, and hope everyone will pay special attention to our great Constitution, especially the First Amendment and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

PennFuture's Session Daze is designed to be a brief, informative and occasionally humorous look at public policy in Pennsylvania. Please visit our
website for more information about PennFuture.

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