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Friday, December 9, 2011

Senator Vincent Hughes Updates Issues In PA Senate

State Senator Vincent Hughes: On the Issues Facebook Twitter

Senator Hughes An informational update for you!

This publication is your opportunity to receive regular updates on the work and the issues that I have been involved with, both in Harrisburg and throughout our community.

Please visit my website, where you will find a comprehensive overview of our work, various phone numbers and contact information to assist you in solving problems, opportunities to volunteer and assist us in our programs and opportunities to give your feedback.

Marcellus Shale Plan Must Hold Industry Accountable

Marcellus ShaleFor years, the General Assembly has struggled to pass a much needed natural gas drilling impact fee. We have discussed and debated an impact fee combined with critical environmental regulations for Marcellus Shale only to come up short. The recently approved impact fee legislative plans that were passed in the state Senate and the House also fall woefully short, amounting to a missed opportunity, likely never to be seen again.

The overall product of the separate pieces of legislation (Senate Bill 1100 and House Bill 1950) approved in the Senate and the House were disappointing, to say the least.

Senator Hughes Says Republican Marcellus Shale Plan Gives Industry a Pass

Senator Hughes debates on Senate Floor about the Republican Marcellus Shale plan that was approved by the Senate.
Click Here to Watch | Click here to Listen

Watch Floor Remarks

The proposal my Senate Democratic colleagues and I recommended was far better than either bill approved in the Republican-controlled House and Senate. The Senate Democratic plan would have raised significantly more revenue and implemented stronger environmental protections while protecting local zoning authority. Unfortunately, this proposal was voted down.

The Republican legislation squanders our best chance to create new job opportunities for infrastructure, energy and economic investments and instead adopts an embarrassingly low tax rate that falls far short of our needs.

While there are concepts in SB 1100 that are worthy of support, there are also many areas where the legislation is deficient. Senate Bill 1100 provides a paltry $14 million in the first year for environmental programs -- well short of the minimum $75 million goal that was suggested by respected environmental groups. I fought to bolster funding by amending SB 1100, but was once again blocked by Senate Republicans.

Statewide Comparison of Natural Gas TaxesUnfortunately, the minimal fee stipulated by SB 1100 and the totally inadequate fee proposal contained in the House plan (HB 1950) would leave us far short of the funding needed to make a real difference. In stark contrast by 2014 our Senate Democratic alternative would have supported $750 million in additional infrastructure investment compared to the meager Republican plans.

House Bill 1950 would impose the third lowest effective tax rate among all 31 shale producing states. Senate Bill 1100 would be the 5th lowest tax rate. The Senate Democrats proposal would put Pennsylvania at 7th lowest among all states.

The Republicans argued that levying a more robust fee on the industry would cause them to drill elsewhere. However, states frequently referenced as alternatives to Pennsylvania for drilling -- Texas and West Virginia -- have much higher effective rates on natural gas production than the rate proposed by Senate Democrats. Moreover, New York has a drilling moratorium in place until environmental studies are performed while the Ohio legislature has two bills pending that would do likewise.

Senate Democrats had high hopes for a plan that would responsibly regulate and tax the shale industry. We were reasonable and open minded in our negotiations and tried to be balanced in our approach. Our efforts were rebuffed by Senate Republicans.

However, this fight is not over. We will have other opportunities to improve the bill before it reaches the governor’s desk. The bottom line is that we must ask more from this industry.

The Marcellus Shale plan should do three things: protect Pennsylvania’s environment and its people; generate adequate revenue; and give local government the ability to protect their communities. Anything less than that is unacceptable.

I urge you all to contact your local state representative, senator and the governor to voice your concerns and displeasure regarding this industry-driven half measure.

View Summary of all Plans

ALERT! EPA Announces Fracking May Cause Groundwater Pollution

You can find out more specifics about the Marcellus Shale Plan and provide your feedback on my website at as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@SenatorHughes).


Anonymous said...

So much for working for the people.

Anonymous said...

Ok.... Let`s hear you defend this ?

Anonymous said...

What in the world would make you think that these views on the subject are the MAJORITY views?

Anonymous said...

Very interesting that Texas (the motherland of the gasholes) has one of the higher taxes in the country, but yet they still do business there. Who woulda thunk?

Not A Business said...

Less GAS tax = More personal tax.

More GAS tax = Less campaign BRIBES.

Less personal tax = Getting re-elected.

More personal tax = Kicking your ass out of office in 2012.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why the people of PA continue to vote these republicans into office when it is obvious, year after year, that they work only for business and not for the people. What is wrong with the people of PA? Are they in such a rut that all they can do is click on that republican button without thinking for themselves? I certainly hope they wake up and start learning the facts of what will be done for them and against them before the next elections roll around.

Anonymous said...

This country would be so much better off if there were no Democrats and Republican, no liberals and conservatives, left wing and right wing. No campaign donations. No Lobbying and special interests.
This country is divided enough as it is. The best potential candidates should run for a position that they are interested in running and the majority of all voters put the best candidate in office. To hell with the primary elections and the ignorance that forces me to pick a side in order to have a say in the matter, or heaven forbid a better choice be on the opposite side so that I cannot vote for them. This is ignorance led by the insane. If an elected official promises to do something, and cannot without justifiable reason keep those promises, they should be fired, banished, imprisoned, shot, hung, whatever. There should be no lobbyists and special interest groups. There should not be the ability to accept campaign contributions from foreign countries, or the shell corporations thereof. There should be no special positions waiting for them at their special interest corporations, of if they do, they have to pay back every penny that the taxpayers paid them and expense covered for them. No more salaries and pensions that would make Donald Trump tear with envy. If you don't want the position for a reasonable salary and benefits, to do the best that you can in the best interest of the people that put you in that position, then don't run for the position, go work for that big corporation and make hat big money you so badly desire that you are willing to sacrifice your soul to acquire.
You know... Of the people, by the people, for the people.

Anonymous said...

Dosn'nt anyone get it"

No business- no jobs

vote democrat- more taxes

more business

its not about Republican/Democrat, its about economy and how to stimulate it. We are a society based on private enterprise, when it is stopped by taxes, regulations, and more government, we all suffer. I agree with the previous person. VOTE FOR THE PERSON.If they dont come through for the people..dump them in the next election. Time for Obama to go.

Anonymous said...

Democrats would steal christ off the cross and then go back for the nails!

Anonymous said...

Business was booming when Bush was in office !!

Anonymous said...

We could tax these gasholes 10% and they would still drill here. We have a bunch of politicians with pockets stuffed full of money.

Anonymous said...

11:08pm - Are you happy to see me or is that a pocket full of gas bribes ya got there?

Anonymous said...

Agreeing with the paragraph starting out - This country would be so much better off if there were no Democrats and Republican