A local lawmaker has introduced a bill to create more Marcellus Shale gas jobs for state workers.
The legislation by state Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport, makes use of a tax credit program.
"We have all seen the impacts of the natural gas industry on our region, and there is no denying the economic boom this industry has brought to many of our communities," he said. "Unfortunately, too many hard-working men and women in our area have been unable to share in the economic growth from natural gas drilling, and my bill aims to change that."
Mirabito did not address specifics of how the tax credit would work, but noted his bill is part of the House Democrats' Marcellus Compact legislative package.
The lawmaker has long spoken out in favor of a severance tax on drilling.
He sees the tax credit bill as a complement to a severance tax which so far has failed to pass through the state Legislature.
"We are suffering the effects of drilling and not creating enough jobs for Pennsylvania people," he said.
He referred to a study last year by Penn State University and Pennsylvania College of Technology that placed actual jobs created by the Marcellus Shale at 23,500 - well below the original estimate of 44,000.
Too many out-of-state residents are getting the jobs and not paying taxes back to Pennsylvania, he noted.
"We want to create as many jobs for Pennsylvania people as possible," he said. "This is actually an incentive to create jobs for Pennsylvania workers as opposed to hiring out-of-state workers."
Meanwhile, state Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Lock Haven, this week introduced a bill that imposes a statewide impact fee on natural gas drillers.
It would replace Act 13, the legislation passed earlier this year, and a bill that Hanna said includes an "embarrassingly low" impact fee.
"This legislation is necessary to ensure the big oil and gas industry properly supports Pennsylvania by paying its fair share of taxes," Hanna said. "Under Act 13, huge oil and gas corporations such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell and BP will pay an embarrassingly low fee that is less than half the effective tax rate as working Pennsylvanians pay in state personal income taxes."
Like Mirabito's bill, it is part of the House Democrats' Marcellus Compact legislative package.
The Marcellus Compact combines six bills that seeks to address what Mirabito and Hanna have referred to as a "flawed" Marcellus Shale law.