Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Budget Games

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Budget Games

Article excerpt

Dan Grossman got it exactly right in his Aug. 7 Perspectives piece, "Don't Trade Away Clean Air and Water," on the proposed Pennsylvania budget bill. Every Pennsylvanian who has small children, who cares for elderly parents, who drinks water and breathes air should be outraged at this budget game-playing.

Here's the toxic bargain they have struck: The generous lawmakers will levy a small oil and gas severance tax, yielding tax revenue amounting to a paltry 0.3 percent of the state's budget. What does the oil and gas industry get in return for bearing this laughably small tax? It gets a gutted Department of Environmental Protection, with its permitting power severely weakened. It gets a politically appointed panel with the power to veto environmental safeguards. It gets environmental regulation by political influence, not by science and concern for the health and welfare of the citizens of our state. …

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