FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Greg Vitali
Vitali attempts to force drilling tax bill vote
HARRISBURG, April 13 – State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware, today began a procedural move to bring his legislation to tax Marcellus Shale natural gas production, H.B. 33, before the full House of Representatives.
Vitali filed a discharge resolution with the chief clerk of the House of Representatives. The resolution is used to release a bill from a standing committee after it has been there at least 15 days.
"I filed my discharge resolution because the Republican chairman of the Finance Committee would not bring up my bill for a vote," Vitali said. "Time is of the essence. A budget for fiscal year 2011-12 is due by the end of June, and a drilling tax must be part of the discussion."
A vote on the resolution by the entire House could come as soon as April 27. Vitali urged Pennsylvanians to contact their representatives to support the resolution.
House Bill 33, which has 62 co-sponsors and bipartisan support, has been in the Finance Committee since Feb. 9. The tax would help mitigate Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget cuts, prevent Growing Greener from running out of money and compensate municipalities in the Marcellus region for the added expenses they are incurring due to drilling.
The tax would generate about $200 million in fiscal year 2011-12, increasing to nearly $420 million by fiscal year 2015-16.
"Two recent polls show a majority of Pennsylvanians support a drilling tax," Vitali said. "It's time for the House to take up my legislation and do the will of the people. We are the only major natural gas producing state without a drilling tax or fee."
Vitali added that his legislation would not hurt Pennsylvania's economic competiveness because the rate of the tax under H.B. 33 would be slightly less than that imposed by West Virginia. It would be about 6 percent of the market value of natural gas extracted.