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Thursday, October 14, 2010

TUES GOV: Scarnati a lying Pinocchio...

Rendell now has hope for natural-gas tax deal

By Amy Worden
Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG - In an about-face from earlier in the week, Gov. Rendell proclaimed Wednesday that he was optimistic there was new progress in talks over taxing the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale.

At a news conference in the Capitol, he said there appeared to be agreement among top legislators from both parties to work to close a deal before the Nov. 2 election.

"All leaders evidenced a real sense of urgency to get this done if it could be done," said Rendell, who had just emerged from what he described as a productive meeting with legislative leaders.

But Drew Crompton, counsel to Senate President Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson), said, "I'm neither optimistic nor pessimistic."

"What we tried to do was establish a pathway to get the bill done if certain conditions are met," Crompton said, but "none of the parameters that we think need to be met have really changed. It's hard to know if a resolution is possible."

Rendell's comments were a notable departure from his pessimism earlier in the week.

On Tuesday, he lamented that talks had broken down, and assailed Senate Republicans for what he perceived as an effort to kill the tax effort through delay tactics and inaction. At one point, he even likened Scarnati, a key player in the negotiations, to the lying Pinocchio. More...

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