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Pa. Budget Chief Won't Rule Out Natural Gas Drilling Tax

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's budget secretary says the administration is not ruling out a tax on natural gas drilling as Corbett and lawmakers grapple with a budget deficit of more than a billion dollars.

Governor Corbett called a press conference to stress that need for lawmakers to address the soaring costs of state and school employee pensions and said he won't discuss possible revenue increases until they do.

But afterward, Budget Secretary Charles Zogby indicated that with the exception of increases in the personal income and sales taxes, other taxes are in play, including the severance tax on natural gas extraction that Corbett has so far opposed.

"There's multiple options that we can look at," Zogby said. "And I think the governor's willing to talk about all of those options except the exceptions that I've [identified]. I'm not ruling out a severance tax. You didn't hear me rule out a severance tax."

And a day after the Senate majority leader said a late budget is likely this year, the governor said he too is prepared to blow past the June 30th deadline if necessary.



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