State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Schwartz adds another earmark to would-be severance tax revenue

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Oct 9, 2013 10:32 PM
Thumbnail image for schwartzCongress.jpg

Photo by U.S. House of Representatives website

The early front runner in the Democratic race for governor is adding to the list of things a tax on natural gas could buy.

Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz says she would set aside money for large-scale transportation projects that can attract private investment.

Schwartz said Wednesday the so-called infrastructure bank would not substitute PennDOT, but supplement the agency in order to launch things like rail and subway expansions as well as port development.

"This would be a pool of funds that would be used to finance, the start up, or to accelerate, or to expand high-impact infrastructure projects in Pennsylvania," Schwartz said in a conference call with reporters. "It'd be capitalized with several hundred million dollars from the shale tax."

She said the fund would consist of revenue from a five percent severance tax on natural gas production, which she would levy on top of the existing impact fee on drillers. The severance tax, she has said, could generate more than $600 million in its first year.

Former Gov. Ed Rendell tried in vain to enact such a tax, and Gov. Corbett has been against the approach.

Schwartz has said she would also use severance tax revenue to pay for early education and basic education investment.

"How we divide those dollars," Schwartz said, "is detail we would get into over time."

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