Northeast Times

Schwartz proposes natural gas severance tax

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate for gov­ernor, last week pro­posed a 5-per­cent nat­ur­al gas sev­er­ance tax to make re­cord in­vest­ments in edu­ca­tion and trans­port­a­tion.

“The leg­acy of our vast nat­ur­al re­sources should be world-class schools, a 21st-cen­tury trans­port­a­tion net­work, clean and low-cost en­ergy, and new ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs that can power our eco­nomy for the fu­ture,” Schwartz said. “Nat­ur­al gas re­sources be­long to the people of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvani­ans de­serve a fair deal and a last­ing pos­it­ive leg­acy for the com­mon­wealth.”

The tax would gen­er­ate $13.2 bil­lion over a dec­ade. Schwartz would use the money to ex­pand ac­cess to early edu­ca­tion, make col­lege more af­ford­able, re­build roads and bridges, ex­pand pub­lic trans­port­a­tion op­tions and in­vest in clean en­ergy and en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.

The cam­paign of Gov. Tom Corbett cri­ti­cized the plan.

“If this is a pre­view of Allyson Schwartz’s tax-and-spend agenda, Pennsylvani­ans bet­ter hide their wal­lets,” said cam­paign man­ager Mike Bar­ley.

Bar­ley said the pro­pos­al will force the shale gas in­dustry to re­lo­cate to more busi­ness-and en­ergy-friendly states.

Rob Gleason, chair­man of the Re­pub­lic­an Party of Pennsylvania, also slammed the pro­pos­al.

“The con­trast is clear: While Gov­ernor Corbett works to cre­ate jobs, ex­trem­ists like Allyson Schwartz would put people on un­em­ploy­ment or just move them out of the state al­to­geth­er.”

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The United Steel Work­ers Loc­al 10-1 has en­dorsed state Rep. Brendan Boyle in his cam­paign for the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­a­tion in the 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict.

Boyle has earned 20 uni­on en­dorse­ments for the race.

“Boyle’s hard work rep­res­ents the work eth­ic of our mem­bers,” said Jim Sav­age, pres­id­ent of Loc­al 10-1. “If we want to be best rep­res­en­ted in D.C., we need rep­res­ent­at­ives that un­der­stand our needs. Out of the dif­fer­ent can­did­ates run­ning for the 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, we know Brendan Boyle will do the best job sup­port­ing our work­ing fam­il­ies.”

The oth­er Demo­crat­ic can­did­ates are former con­gress­wo­man Mar­jor­ie Mar­gol­ies, state Sen. Daylin Leach and Dr. Val Arkoosh, a health­care-re­form ad­voc­ate.

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The Pennsylvania Bar As­so­ci­ation Ju­di­cial Eval­u­ation Com­mis­sion last week re­com­men­ded four judges run­ning for re­ten­tion in Novem­ber’s elec­tion.

Earn­ing re­com­mend­a­tions were Su­preme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille, Su­preme Court Justice Max Baer and Su­per­i­or Court Judges Susan Gant­man and Jack Pan­ella.

Castille, of Rhawn­hurst, is a highly dec­or­ated Vi­et­nam War vet­er­an and a former Phil­adelphia dis­trict at­tor­ney. He was elec­ted to the Su­preme Court in 1993 and re­tained in 2003. He’s been chief justice for five years.

The com­mis­sion wrote, “He is cred­ited for his ef­forts in re­or­gan­iz­ing the court sys­tem in Phil­adelphia, for strength­en­ing and im­prov­ing the ju­di­cial dis­cip­line sys­tem, and for en­cour­aging law­yers to render pub­lic in­terest and leg­al ser­vices work by ini­ti­at­ing a law school loan re­pay­ment as­sist­ance pro­gram for their be­ne­fit. He is re­cog­nized for his friendly and forth­com­ing de­mean­or, ex­cel­lent ju­di­cial tem­pera­ment, strong work eth­ic and sub­stan­tial out­put of ar­tic­u­late and well-reasoned opin­ions.”

Castille will have to re­tire at the end of 2014 be­cause he’ll be 70.

The find­ings were based on a ques­tion­naire, an ana­lys­is of writ­ten opin­ions with­in the last three to five years and in­ter­views with judges and law­yers. ••

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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