Severance tax on natural gas drilling pushed in Pa.

     A worker walks on top of a container of chemicals used in the making of a brine water that is then pumped below the surface in a hydraulic fracturing process to release natural gas from shale deposits at a gas well site in Zelienople, Pa. A new fee on gas drilling has generated millions of dollars more in revenue than first projected, but other major gas-producing states tax the industry at higher rates. (Keith Srakocic/AP Photo, file)

    A worker walks on top of a container of chemicals used in the making of a brine water that is then pumped below the surface in a hydraulic fracturing process to release natural gas from shale deposits at a gas well site in Zelienople, Pa. A new fee on gas drilling has generated millions of dollars more in revenue than first projected, but other major gas-producing states tax the industry at higher rates. (Keith Srakocic/AP Photo, file)

    A group of Pennsylvania lawmakers and advocates — including state Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bucks — is calling on their colleagues to consider a tax on the production of natural gas.

    Under Gov. Tom Corbett, the Legislature passed an impact fee, which puts a levy on each well drilled.

    Supporters of the severance tax idea point out Pennsylvania is the only state within shale formations that doesn’t tax gas yields.

    Such a tax would bring in more money than the impact fee, at a time when funds are sorely needed, said state Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny.

    “We will soon be hearing from the governor with his budget concerns and I think this is a very, very good suggestion for legislation to be incorporated into the budget as we start the process in the year 2014,” Readshaw said.

    Corbett opposes a severance tax, and a top adviser said Thuesday that the governor is not about to change his mind.

    Several Democratic gubernatorial candidates have made their support of a severance tax the centerpiece of their policy platforms.

    DiGirolamo, who has often diverged on from G-O-P leadership in his chamber, said it’s a reasonable option that ought to be debated.

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