Top Republicans stand up Gov. Rendell

    GOP lawmakers will meet with the governor today on a natural gas severance tax.

    In the debate over a natural gas severance tax, Pennsylvania Senate Republican leaders hold all the cards right now. Top Republicans skipped Governor Rendell’s meeting Monday on the issue.

    Governor Rendell called the meeting a “terrific discussion” on what should and shouldn’t be in a compromise natural gas severance tax. But the most important players – Senate Republican leaders – weren’t at the table Monday.

    Senate Republican spokesman Erik Arneson says the caucus continues to work through the issue, though.

    “In terms of the calendar and how things move across the desk, there is no difference between a meeting on Monday afternoon or a meeting first-thing Tuesday morning,” said Arne.

    The Senate’s tax proposal would set a 1.5 percent rate for the first five years of a well’s operation, and then increase to 5 percent.

    Rendell and top House Democrats say that’s much too low.

    The Senate will hold its final voting sessions this week. If the Senate doesn’t pass the bill by Thursday, it won’t become law.

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