State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

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McCord unveils education plan propped up by 10 percent "drillers' tax"

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Mar 24, 2014 3:13 PM

Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rob McCord says his education plan would be funded largely with a 10 percent natural gas drilling tax.

McCord, the state treasurer, said he wants to boost money for education by $1.3 billion, in a move to replace cuts to education under the Corbett administration. The governor's office says the reductions were the result of the end of federal stimulus dollars. McCord said his education spending would make early education a priority.

"Not just K-12, and not just full-day kindergarten, and not just pre-K, but we add an extra $220 million dollars to early childhood learning," McCord said in a speech to the Pennsylvania Press Club in Harrisburg.

He said the proposal would be funded in large part with 10 percent "drillers' tax."

"You can do it in a way that won't ruin jobs because, last time we all checked, this natural resource is in our soil," McCord said. "Unlike other types of jobs, those jobs cannot be exported away."

All the Democratic gubernatorial candidates support an extraction tax to replace or add to what's collected under the current impact fee. But McCord's proposed 10 percent tax is twice the rate of what most of his Democratic opponents support. Only one other Democratic candidate, former state auditor general Jack Wagner, has not specified what rate he supports for a drilling tax.

McCord said other changes to tax policy would help pay for his $1.3 billion boost in annual spending.

"We can do much better on the Delaware loophole, we can do better on the sales tax, we have a vendor discount which makes no sense, and we can do better on the tobacco tax," McCord said. He added he supports generating revenues by allowing more state wine and liquor stores to open on Sundays.

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