Natural gas production tax gets life in Pennsylvania House

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf is urging leaders of the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives to speed a vote on legislation to tax Marcellus Shale natural gas production in Pennsylvania.

The Democrat gave his backing to a bill that emerged Wednesday from the House Finance Committee.

Proponents say it’ll help stitch up Pennsylvania’s deficit-riddled finances amid a four-month budget standoff. Six Republicans on the committee defied party leaders to vote for the bill with all 10 Democrats.

It imposes a volume tax that rises with the price of natural gas.

The exploration industry opposes it, and warns that a provision changing landowner royalty contract terms is unconstitutional. The Republican-controlled Senate passed a similar tax in July.

But Majority Leader Jake Corman says Republicans won’t support a tax without additional provisions to speed up the state’s issuance of pollution-control permits for various industries.

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