COLUMN: For Pennsylvania residents, we’re safe — for now

COLUMN: For Pennsylvania residents, we're safe — for now

Mark Twain once observed that "no man’s life, liberty, or property is safe when the legislature is in session." He was talking about the federal congress, but the saying can aptly be applied to the legislatures in the states as well. And so it is with the Pennsylvania General Assembly, which this year gets an extended summer vacation after having a state budget in place for the first time in four years by the July 1 deadline. Lawmakers quickly exited the state capitol and are not due back until mid-September. For the time being, our life, liberty and property are safe. More important than passage of the state budget or anything else approved by the legislature so far this session is what they did not do. A wide range of proposals that would have infringed on our liberty and taken our property bogged down in the legislative process. In his budget address, Gov. Tom Wolf again proposed a severance tax on Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry. This tax has become the Holy Grail of the tax, spend and tax some more crowd. Gas producers in the Marcellus shale region already pay the same taxes every other business and industry in the state pays, plus an impact fee. The governor has support for a severance tax from all legislative Democrats and a handful of wayward Republicans. Even that was not enough to get his tax plan included in the budget that ultimately passed. Wolf yielded to political reality and signed the […]

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