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Pennsylvania lawmakers reached an agreement on a controversial package of tax breaks

2 Jun 2012
Pennsylvania lawmakers last week reached an agreement on a controversial package of tax breaks Gov. Tom Corbett (R) proposed in hopes of luring a Royal Dutch Shell PLC petrochemical refinery and an associated chemical manufacturing industry to the Keystone State.

Under the agreement, there would be no limit on the tax credit, which Corbett had suggested capping at $66 million per year, or $1.7 billion total. The agreement would, however, keep the governor's proposed tax credit of a nickel per gallon of ethane used by a qualifying refinery.

The tax break would last for 25 years, beginning in 2017, and could eventually exceed the $1.7 billion total Corbett originally estimated.

"At some point in time, it could be" above that amount, said state Sen. Elder Vogel (R), whose district could soon house the Shell refinery. "It won't be to start with."

The $66 million yearly limit was an artificial cap, Vogel said. The nickel-per-gallon figure is more important, he said, because Corbett administration officials estimate the tax would be proportional to taxes collected from industry on things like sales and income.

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