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Pa. House Passes Tax On Natural Gas Drilling

HARRISBURG (CBS) - The state House has passed its version of a bill to levy a tax on Pennsylvania's natural gas drilling industry. But the bill now goes to the Senate, where it faces major changes.

House and Senate leaders agreed to pass a natural gas drilling tax as part of the budget agreement. And on Wednesday, Todd Eachus – majority leader of the Democrat-controlled House – urged members to approve a bill to move the process forward:

"Pushing this bill forward today will result in the ability to reach common ground with our Senate colleagues."

But Lt. Governor Joe Scarnati, who's also the top Republican in the GOP-controlled Senate, criticized House leaders for passing a bill without negotiating with Senate leaders, and he called the tax rate established in the House bill "ridiculous."

"We're not going to tax this industry to be punitive, and we're not going to tax this industry to drive them out of the state."

Scarnati also questioned whether the process used by the House to pass the bill violates the state constitution.

Reported By Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio

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