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Time Running Out For Tax On Natural Gas Drilling

HARRISBURG (CBS) - It's a critical week ahead for supporters of a tax on Pennsylvania's natural gas drilling industry.

Time is running out if Pennsylvania is to enact a natural gas extraction tax before Governor Rendell leaves office. The Senate has already held its final scheduled days of the current session. And while the Senate could add more session days before the fast-approaching election, Senate leaders insist they will not hold any votes on significant legislation after the election.

Last week, the governor gave reporters whiplash by telling them on Tuesday that talks had hit a roadblock:

"Unfortunately, the effort to get this done has broken down."

Then, a day later:

"Color me optimistic today as opposed to yesterday. The attitude was great today."

While staff discussions continued Thursday and Friday, a Rendell spokesman said late Friday afternoon there had been no discussion of the tax rate between the administration and the legislative caucuses. Nonetheless, he said Rendell remained "hopeful."

Reported by Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio

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