Republicans say the delay isn’t due to any snag in negotiations. They’re just behind in paperwork, and there’s some bill-drafting and spreadsheet-making that still needs to be done.
Against this backdrop of budget talks humming along without any Democratic input, House and Senate Democrats say they’re planning to push a natural gas extraction impact fee back on the table. They’ll offer an amendment to the budget package that creates such a fee. Ranking Senate Democrat Jay Costa of Allegheny County says his party represents a united front in favor of passing an impact fee before the summer recess.”Now is the time that we must bring to closure the discussion about Marcellus shale extraction tax or local impact fee,” said Costa. Erik Arneson, a spokesman for the Senate Majority Leader, says the Republicans are committed to sending a budget bill to the governor that is free of any tax or fee language, and that trying to force a fee bill now would be unproductive.
Arneson says the budget bill will likely come out of committee on Monday, in plenty of time to get approval from the Senate and House by the deadline on Thursday.