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Pennsylvania House speaker says proposal to tax gas drilling will cost jobs, hurt industry

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HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai is making the case against imposing a new severance tax on gas drilling in the state, saying it may cost jobs and harm the industry.

Turzai called a Monday afternoon news conference to attack a proposal by Gov. Tom Wolf to increase taxes on the industry to generate new money for education.

Turzai says the natural gas industry is already producing about $200 million annually in the form of an impact fee that is mostly targeted to areas where the drilling occurs. The Republican speaker and other legislative leaders are currently in talks with Democrat Wolf about how to plug a massive projected budget gap in the fiscal year that starts in July.

Wolf wants the severance tax to help boost aid to public schools.

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