PA budget still makes lawmakers uneasy

    Rank-and-file Pennsylvania House Democrats voiced concerns about the tentative budget deal during a four hour closed-door meeting.

    Rank-and-file Pennsylvania House Democrats voiced concerns about the tentative budget deal during a four hour closed-door meeting yesterday. After the session ended, Majority Leader Todd Eachus announced the House will hold a vote on a Marcellus Shale severance tax.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090929sdbudget.mp3]

    The Democratic Caucus began meeting at two o’clock, and didn’t wrap up until after six.

    Complaints were registered about potential taxes on small games of chance and live artistic performances, as well as the lack of a new levy on smokeless tobacco.

    Majority Leader Todd Eachus says members also want to see a tax on natural gas extractions in the Marcellus Shale. He says the House will hold a vote on that issue today.

    Eachus: It’s one of those issues as Democrats that we continue to feel strongly about-that as natural resources, in this case natural gas, are extracted from the ground, and they’re once and gone, that there should be a social benefit, not only for the commonwealth but the communities where that gas is extracted from. Our members want it, they’re going to get a vote on that.

    Both Governor Rendell and Senate Republicans oppose a Shale tax, and it’s not included in the tentative agreement announced earlier this month.

    Eachus and other Democrats say the budget won’t be finished by Rendell’s Sunday deadline, though they’re committed to working through the weekend.

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