From Pennsylvania Public Radio’s Mary Wilson, the first Marcellus Shale impact fee update of 2012. Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, who’s been pushing for a locally-distributed levy on drilling for more than a year now, says negotiations need to wrap up before Governor Corbett’s February budget address, or the fee may not happen.
“I would strongly recommend that we have this wrapped up before the budget address,” said Jefferson County Republican Sen. Joe Scarnati, right after he was sworn in to serve another year as Senate President Pro Temp.
Otherwise, he said, proposal reconciliation between the House and Senate could be complicated by debates over the state budget, which Governor Corbett presents to the Legislature in early February.
“What we saw last year was the fact that Shale could’ve held up this budget greatly. We respected the wishes of the governor to wait for the commission,” said Scarnati, referring to Gov. Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, which offered policy recommendations, including an impact fee.
Scarnati initially wanted a fee passed before the 2011 budget. Then, he called for a measure to be signed into law by the end of October. Governor Corbett wanted a law by the end of 2011. So Scarnati’s new deadline is, by StateImpact’s count, the fourth deadline imposed since the Jefferson County Republican first introduced a bill last April.
Both chambers have passed their own versions of a fee twice, now. The next step in fee negotiations will likely come in a joint House-Senate conference committee