Here’s a hitch, as Governor Corbett and legislative leaders begin negotiating the details of his impact fee proposal: Grover Norquist, the administrator of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge Corbett has signed onto, says the governor’s plan would be a tax increase, if it were administered at the state level.
Corbett wants to administer a fee on a county-by-county basis, but many lawmakers say the proposal would lead to confusion.
The plan, as it stands, is “clearly moving in the right direction,” said Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform. He likes the fact that counties, not the state, would decide whether or not to implement the levy.
If this changed to a state-assessed system, it would count as a tax increase, Norquist said. That wouldn’t necessarily mean Corbett violated his pledge, though. “You’d just have to have an offsetting tax decrease somewhere else,” he said.
Does Norquist’s opinion matter? His anti-tax pledge carries major clout, both statewide and nationally, and he’s aggressively weighed in on Marcellus Shale issues in the past. If he says a statewide fee counts as a tax, it will likely play a role in how many Republicans support the final bill.
In a twist of fate, Norquist happen to be in Harrisburg this evening, for the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents Association’s annual Gridiron dinner.