Shell tax break was always on the table, Corbett administration says

    When Gov. Tom Corbett praised a deal with a major energy giant to set up shop in western Pennsylvania, he didn’t mention a $1.7 billion tax break was needed, too.

    The administration now says that was part of the original deal.

    Royal Dutch Shell made a request of the Corbett administration when it considered building a natural gas-processing plant in Beaver County.

    Expectations are high for the plant: proponents say it could be the anchor of a whole energy industrial complex in the region and create tens of thousands of jobs.

    According to Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Alan Walker, Shell wanted something in return.

    “They were very concerned, because this plant won’t be finished until 2017, that all the gas would be contracted to go into the pipeline and go to the Gulf or go to the Midwest,” Walker said. “They said, ‘We need some incentive to make sure that gas is used here in Pennsylvania so that it doesn’t go in the pipeline.’ So this is what they asked for.”

    Corbett has reportedly told lawmakers he wants the tax break passed along with a budget in the next few weeks.

    Proposals have been queued up in the House and Senate.

    But critics say job creation numbers associated are unrealistic, and that the tax break is going to a company that hardly needs handouts.

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