A natural gas extraction tax in Pennsylvania has been regarded at times as a silver bullet, and lawmakers have proposed shooting it every which way to solve financial woes.
Now Republican Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, running for re-election in his Bucks County district, is proposing a Marcellus Shale tax with a twist — the revenue would go solely toward the state’s public pension debt.
Democrats have called for an extraction tax, too, but Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa said they would want to spend the money differently.
The bulk of it would go to education, Costa said. He like to see that “every school district gets a piece of that money and it’s a straight line from the Marcellus Shale tax to this fund.”
The state’s public pension debt stands at about $50 billion, and it’s growing. Under current law, that debt isn’t expected to dip below $10 billion until about 2040.
The only other proposals to reduce the debt involve a borrowing maneuver that was made illegal years ago because it was considered so risky.
A natural gas drilling tax was considered by GOP state lawmakers as recently as June and but it was jettisoned due to lack of support.