Pa. Senate leader advises urgency on Marcellus Shale impact fee

    The state senator leading the charge for an impact fee on natural gas drillers in Pennsylvania says it’s imperative that dueling House and Senate proposals be reconciled before February.

    Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati said if lawmakers are going to resolve the issue of taxing natural gas drillers, they’d better do it this month.

    Otherwise, said Joe Scarnati, the talks could be complicated by debates over the state budget, which Gov. Tom Corbett will present to the Legislature in early February.

    “I would strongly recommend that we have this wrapped up before the budget address, and before budget negotiations start. What we saw last year was the fact that Shale could’ve held up this budget greatly,” Scarnati said Tuesday. “We respected the wishes of the governor to wait for the commission.”

    Scarnati said he sees no reason in the new year to hold back on impact fee negotiations, even if the budget remains an open question.

    House and Senate members remain at odds over an impact fee proposal and will have to work out a compromise in a joint committee of specially appointed lawmakers.

    Neither Scarnati nor the spokesman for the House GOP say they’re thinking about whom from their caucus should serve on the panel.

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