That is Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley's response to a question as to whether there is even a remote chance Gov. Tom Corbett will approve a severance tax on the natural gas industry.
Cawley, who was in Williamsport Friday to speak at the county GOP's Lincoln Day dinner and also speak with members of the county Community Gas Exploration Task Force, said Corbett's main focus is on figuring out how to efficiently spend the tax revenue the state already is bringing in.
Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, seated at the table, leans forward as he listens to a presentation of the Lycoming County Community Gas Exploration Task Force. Cawley was in the city to attend the county GOP Lincoln Day dinner.
"(Corbett) doesn't say anything he doesn't mean," Cawley said. "When he said there will be no new taxes during this administration, he meant it.
"Our problem isn't that we're not sending enough money to Harrisburg," he added, "The problem is, it isn't being spent wisely. We need to find more efficient ways of spending that money before we ask for an additional dime out of anybody."
According to Cawley, when Gov. Mark Schweiker left office eight years ago, the state had a general fund surplus, albeit a modest one of $7 million.
Under Ed Rendell's administration, spending increased at an unprecedented rate, he said.
"Today, as a result of a whole bunch of different decisions, we have a $4 billion deficit," he said.
"There was an explosion of spending over the last eight years and revenue didn't even come close," Cawley said. "That is going to require us to make some tough decisions and think of different ways of doing the people's business in Pennsylvania."
Cawley said the Corbett administration plans to look for ways to streamline state government to make it more efficient, less costly and more business-friendly.
"We're not looking at cutting any corners as far as making sure the key functions of state government are met," he said.
Regarding a recent New York Times article that was critical of the way the state handles issues with the natural gas industry, particularly the way it handles, treats and discharges industry wastewater, Cawley invoked Rendell's top environmental watchdog, former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger.
"When you've got Ed Rendell's secretary of the DEP saying the New York Times is making it up, you ought to sit up and take notice," Cawley said. "He's saying what's being reported simply is not true."
Cawley said Corbett has no immediate plans to begin leasing more state land for gas exploration.
However, the governor does plan to convene a group focused on studying the Marcellus Shale "to analyze the industry from top to bottom.
"Then we are going to make recommendations as far as how we can best maximize the potential of the Marcellus Shale," he said.
One thing already is apparent to the Corbett administration, he said.
"We believe Marcellus Shale gas exploration has the opportunity to be the single largest economic development engine in the commonwealth's history," he said.
Cawley said that was one reason he wanted to meet with the county task force.
He learned about the group while serving as a Bucks County commissioner. He served as commissioner for six years, he said.
"A major reason why I came here is because (Commissioners Rebecca A. Burke, Jeff C. Wheeland and Ernie Larson) are recent former colleagues," he said. "They would often tell me about the Marcellus Shale and its effect on Lycoming County and the ways they are managing it."
"I wanted to see what's going on in Lycoming County because the proof is in the pudding - you're getting it right here," he said.
Cawley's visit to Williamsport was at the behest of county GOP Chairman Robert Brobson. Cawley said he is friends with Brobson and Brobson's son Kevin, who is a Commonwealth Court judge.
"Bob asked and I jumped at the opportunity," Cawley said.