As we’ve reported, the next step on the impact fee front will happen behind closed doors. There are several major differences between the measures passed by the House and Senate last week.
Before either chamber holds another vote, House and Senate leaders will need to get together and work out a compromise. A key player in those talks, Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati’s chief-of-staff, Drew Crompton, is skeptical an agreement can be reached quickly. “It will take an enormous effort to resolve all the disparities by the end of the year,” he told the AP.
Former DEP Secretary Dave Hess has a few suggestions to bridge those differences. Writing on his PA Environment Daily blog a few days ago, he proposed a compromise between the House and Senate plans. A key factor, Hess argues, is Grover Norquist’s insistence that Governor Corbett’s preferred county-level fee is a tax:
…The issue of how to avoid the fee being called a tax is completely off the table.House and Senate Republicans have said with their votes, “so what if it’s a tax, we need it anyway.”Once relieved of that burden, members are free to design a fee system that is clean, simple and easy to administer and that argues for the Senate version of the fee– a uniform fee, collected by the state, not an optional, county-adopted fee which was only proposed originally in such a convoluted form to avoid the “no-tax” label.