Gov. Corbett proposes billion-dollar tax break for Shell's ethane cracker

Written by Scott Detrow, StateImpact Pennsylvania Reporter | Jun 5, 2012 10:46 PM

(Harrisburg) -- Shell is considering building a major chemical processing plant in western Pennsylvania, and Governor Corbett wants to give the company a $1.7 billion tax break to help finalize the decision. In March, the company announced it was considering building an ethane cracker in Beaver County. Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley says Shell is still negotiating with the Corbett administration on the exact terms of an agreement. "What we agreed to two months ago, or what Shell announced two months ago, I should say, there wasn't even an agreement, necessarily, was that they would stop their due diligence in Ohio and West Virginia and focus exclusively on the Beaver County site," he explains. Shell has already been granted a 15-year state tax exemption on the site, and says the new tax break, spread over 25 years, is one of a variety of economic factors it's considering. Corbett and Cawley say the cracker would help revitalize western Pennsylvania's industrial economy. But Democrats are raising questions about the giveaway, pointing to the $31 billion Shell earned last year as proof the company doesn't need more tax breaks.

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