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Pa. House bipartisan group plans natural-gas severance tax proposal to replace impact fee

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Representatives from both sides of the aisle in the state House said they plan to introduce legislation to replace the impact fee on unconventional gas wells in Pennsylvania with a severance tax on the gas of 4.9 percent, according to a co-sponsorship memorandum.

The memorandum is from state Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bucks County; Rep. Pamela DeLissio, D-Philadelphia and Montgomery counties; Rep. Thomas Murt, R-Philadelphia and Montgomery counties; and Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny County.

The lawmakers said the fee on the books today is only expected to bring in less than 2 percent of the value of natural gas sold from a typical well over 15 years.

They also said the new tax would be more than enough immediately to cover funding for current impact-fee beneficiaries, including local governments, and would help to pay for additional programs from basic education to solar energy and drug and alcohol programs.

The proposal also would make sure the money would supplement, not supplant, state General Fund money for programs, the memorandum stated.

Gov. Tom Corbett has opposed a severance tax in Pennsylvania during his time as governor.

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