Corbett And Norquist Disagree On Tax Definition

  • Scott Detrow

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Grover Norquist


Grover Norquist is now calling Corbett’s county-level Marcellus Shale impact fee a tax.
So something’s got to give, right?
Apparently not. Speaking to the Pennsylvania Press Club this afternoon, Corbett said he “disagree[s] with [Norquist’s] opinion on that.”
Norquist – who’s a big fan of Corbett, to the point of floating him as a possible future presidential contender – was initially on board with Corbett’s proposal, which keeps the levy on the county level.
The two men part ways on the distribution of income. To Norquist, the fee becomes a tax as soon as it distributes money to state government, even though Corbett’s proposal, written into House Bill 1950, limits the revenue to departments dealing directly with drilling.
Norquist posted his “tax” ruling on the Americans for Tax Reform website, just hours before last week’s House vote on the measure. It didn’t seem to have much of an immediate impact: the legislation cleared the Republican-controlled House on a 107-76 vote.
The vote was a rare setback for Norquist, whose anti-tax pledge has become a “must” for Republicans seeking office across the country. The promise’s language, and definitions of what is and isn’t a tax, held up this summer’s debt ceiling negotiations.
Corbett isn’t the only Pennsylvania politician to part ways with Norquist: the anti-tax crusader gave the cold shoulder to Senator and Supercommittee member Pat Toomey’s plan to comprise with Democrats on spending cuts, by raising $300 billion in new taxes. As Politico reported, Norquist emailed, “If it was the final bill, it would be poison for taxpayers, tea party supporters and Republicans…As a negotiating position to bring Democrats toward tax reform, it was not treason.”

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