Corbett — ideologue or high-priced whore?


From Philly.com:

“The Marcellus industry has been clear and outspoken on this for a year or so,” said Ray Walker, vice president of Range Resources in Texas and chairman of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group. “We are willing to discuss a severance tax.” But the new governor isn’t. In fact, Gov. Corbett, who signed a no-tax pledge during his campaign last year, is far more resolute in his opposition to a tax than many in the industry that would pay it…

One thing is not in dispute: A tax on Marcellus Shale gas could raise a lot of money. Drilling in the shale has ramped up dramatically since 2004, when Pennsylvania got its first well using the new hydraulic-fracturing process that frees gas from the rock. From July 2009 to December 2010, drillers reported, 1,247 Marcellus Shale wells produced 466 billion cubic feet of gas. At today’s prices, a 5 percent tax – akin to West Virginia’s – would have collected $93 million in that period.

Corbett says he’s opposed to a tax because it would spur drillers to move to a more business-friendly state. But Marcellus Shales says it was willing to discuss being taxed. So what’s the real reason he won’t tap into this revenue source but is, for instance, eager to break the public school system because, he says, there’s no money to fund it?

Maybe Corbett has read Ayn Rand’s trash and is a genuine free-market ideologue, opposed to taxing businesses on principle, regardless of the good it might do. Or he’s afraid his “no taxes” promise will come back to bite him if he’s opposed for renomination by some Republican who’s even more right-wing than he is, though that’s hard to imagine. Or he was bought by a taxes opponent more powerful than the drilling industry, which gave Corbett’s campaign $800K. Maybe there’s an extremely discreet sugar daddy Corbett simply can’t afford to offend.

I’m opposed to drilling in PA because all the money in the world isn’t worth having your water supply poisoned, and because any politician in today’s world not working to establish alternative energy sources — there would be plenty of PA jobs for wind and solar — is an enemy of the future.

But I’m also interested in psychopathology and know an interesting case when I see one. What’s this guy’s story?

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