Pennsylvania governor seeks huge tax break for Shell

    Some interesting news from Harrisburg today …

    Pete DeCoursey of the online news service Capitolwire reports that Gov. Tom Corbett is planning to give Shell a $67 million annual tax credit, starting in 2017, for 25 years for a total of nearly $1.7 billion. And, DeCoursey writes, “typically, the governor is being secretive about it. He is trying to give away that much taxpayer money without telling anyone until the little-read and arcane tax code bill is enacted later.”

    The tax credit would be for Shell’s planned ethane-cracker plant in western Pennsylvania, a prjoect which already enjoys exemption from many taxes.

    DeCoursey reports that “the deal only began to leak out in the last few weeks because some folks in the administration are fighting over this plan … several administration hands who didn’t know about it said it is a terrible idea and began complaining about its secrecy, its cost per job and the cost it would carry in this budget.”

    I can’t link the whole story because Capitolwire is a paid-subscription service, but the Associated Press got a top legislative aide to confirm that the tax break is under discussion, and the Inquirer’s Joe DiStefano is on the case.

    Also the Allentown Morning Call’s Capitol reporter John Micek reports in his Capitol Ideas blog that he’s gone over the financial disclosure forms filed by top state officials with the State Ethics Commission.

    Among the highlights: C. Alan Walker, a former coal executive from Clearfield County who’s Corbett’s secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development, is on the board of more than a dozen companies, many of them energy-related.

    Agency spokesman Steve Kratz told Micek that Walker has had no “day-to-day involvement” with any of those companies since assuming his official duties last year. Read more here.

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