Corbett offers rationale for opposing gas industry tax

Could taxing the companies that are extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania scare pharmaceutical companies out of the state?

Gov. Tom Corbett told a group of workers at a Montgomery County company Tuesday that he wants to keep companies in Pennsylvania, as well as bringing new ones in. He said he opposes a tax on natural gas drilling because it sends the wrong message to all businesses.

“Those pharmaceutical companies that have started coming across the river from New Jersey, they’re going to start looking and saying ‘Wait a second, if we do real well and there’s another economic crisis, we may be the industry that’s picked on,’ ” Corbett said. “So I’m trying to send the message that you do not want to treat individual industries differently than all companies.”

Albert Wertheimer, a professor of pharmacy economics at Temple University, doesn’t buy it.

“No one taxes pharmaceuticals or bowling balls or pingpong paddles or specific things, but extractive industries all over the world are taxed,” said Wertheimer. “They’re taking something from the land and people should generally get something in return for that.”

Wertheimer believes Corbett was trying to scare voters–especially people now working for pharmaceutical companies–into opposing a natural gas tax.

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