Joe Scarnati is the Pennsylvania state Senate’s President Pro Tempore, a post he’s held since November 2006. The Republican represents Jefferson, Cameron, Elk, McKean, Potter and Tioga counties, as well as portions of Clearfield and Warren. He was first elected to the Senate in 2000.
When Catherine Baker Knoll died in November 2008, Scarnati became lieutenant governor. He held both titles until January 2011, when Republican Jim Cawley was sworn in as LG.
Scarnati occupies an interesting position, when it comes to the taxation of Marcellus Shale drilling. When the Democrat-controlled House passed severance tax bills in 2009 and 2010, Scarnati and other Senate Republican leaders killed the proposals, arguing their tax rates were prohibitively high. But now that fiscally conservative Republicans have taken control of both the House and governor’s office, Scarnati is the one leading the charge for an impact fee on drilling. He wants to impose an annual levy on every well in Pennsylvania, and use the revenue to fund local governments and environmental cleanup efforts.