Amid budget woes, gas drilling tax turns GOP heads

    A proposal to slap Pennsylvania’s booming natural gas industry with a new tax is turning the heads of Republican lawmakers amid an increasingly grim budget picture.

    Some Republicans in the Capitol are predicting that a tax on natural gas extraction could end up in whatever final budget legislation emerges for the fiscal year beginning July 1. They say it would be preferable to cutting spending in an election year.

    Still, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett opposes a tax on the industry. Another key question is whether Democrats and Republicans can agree on a tax structure and destination for the money, even if Corbett changes his position.

    Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman says an extraction tax will become a more serious discussion if it becomes clearer there’s a big budget hole.

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