Governor Corbett says a $1.65 billion tax break is a key component of Pennsylvania’s offer to Royal Dutch Shell, as the multinational energy corporation considers building an ethane cracker in Beaver County.
“It’s very important to have right now,” he told reporters this morning. “This is not a done deal.”
Corbett is touting the chemical processing plant, which converts elements found in western Pennsylvania’s “wet” natural gas into material used to produce plastics, as the cornerstone of a new regional industrial boom. But critics say he’s keeping taxpayers and legislators in the dark about how much the administration is willing to give Shell.
In March, Corbett touted Shell’s agreement to focus on a Pennsylvania site as a major economic coup, though he warned the announcement was the first pitch of a long, nine-inning baseball game.
Over the previous week, he and other Administration members have made it clear the first inning isn’t over, and Pennsylvania isn’t guaranteed the site at all.
“We are still in early negotiations, it’s fair to say, with Shell,” Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley said last week.
This weekend, after Capitolwire ($) reported Pennsylvania may foot the bill for environmental cleanup at the Monaca site, which currently hosts a zinc smelter, a member of the administration denied the story, and said such reporting ”gave Ohio and West Virginia a better idea of Pennsylvania’s offer and how to equal or exceed it.”
The Associated Press reported similar details, though a Corbett Administration press release denied the news.
The $1.65 billion tax break, which would be spread over 25 years, has yet to be introduced in bill form. A law passed earlier this year already grants the company a 15-year waiver on state and local taxes.