McGarrigle delivers on severance tax

Tom McGarrigle has been down this road before.

Just ask former Gov. Tom Corbett.

McGarrigle made it clear back when he was first running for the 26th District Senate seat held by Republican Ted Erickson that he supported a severance tax on the state's natural gas drillers.

That put him famously at odds with the man sitting at the top of the GOP ticket that year. That would be incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett, who was running on "no new taxes campaign." The governor opted for an "impact fee" as opposed to a new tax.

McGarrigle is now serving in the Senate; Corbett is enjoying his retirement.

McGarrigle was joined by fellow Republican Sen. Tom Killion, R-9, in crafting the funding package that squeaked past the Senate in a 26-24 razor thin margin.

It includes the state's first severance tax on natural gas drilling.

It's still not what McGarrigle would like, but it's what he will have to settle for.

"I wanted 4 percent," McGarrigle told me shortly after the measure passed the Senate Thursday morning. "But there was no way we were going to get it."

What he got was 2 percent of the gross value of the natural gas at the wellhead. It's expected to raise $100 million. That's a lot less than what would have been raised under Gov. Tom Wolf's initial proposals in his first two years, 6.5 percent and then 5 percent the next year. Both proposals were dead on arrival in the GOP-dominated Legislature.

The package passed by the Senate will cost just about everyone, with hikes for gas heat as well as electric customers, cell and phone bills, and extending the sales tax to some online purchases.

The bulk of the money will come from borrowing as much as $!.3 billion from the tobacco settlement fund.

McGarrigle said he was "happy" because the plan is a start.

"When I sought this Senate seat, I pledged to make securing a severance tax on gas drilling a top priority," McGarrigle said. "It is a responsible way to generate desperately needde revenue for schools and other Commonwealth obligations."

Now it goes to the House.

But McGarrigle has held up his end of the deal.


Anonymous said…
He ran in 2014, it's now 2017 he dragged his feet. He's doing it now for next years contested election. A real pro politician. Read between the lines.
He did nothing for 3 years.... now he going to run on taxing the big oil companies.
He tell ya he wants to tax the consumers who use the gas first.
How about his big recovery house bill he stole from the democrats.
Playing off of the opioid epedemic.... sad... Then his cemetery bill for his buddy.

He never pushed for 4% pure lies.... you want 4% you stand up and debate and fight not run to the paper and say you would like to have seen 4% but settle for 1\2....

I like to see him cut his gas prices to reflect the others but he charges the most.

Plus nice to see he ran on he'll be a full time Senator when he still works at gas station from time to time;)