HARRISBURG, June 4, 2012 – Top Senate Democrats today asked Gov. Tom Corbett to release details of the deal that will bring a petrochemical cracker plant to Western Pennsylvania.
In light of recent reports asserting that the deal with Shell Chemical was sealed with expensive long-term tax breaks, Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Appropriations Chairman Vincent Hughes and Finance Chairman John Wozniak have requested a meeting with Corbett administration officials to discuss details of the agreement.
In a letter sent today, the three Democrats reasserted their praise for the administration’s effort to bring a significant number of jobs to Beaver County, but noted that there is little time left in the current budget negotiations to review complicated – and perhaps controversial – tax and revenue proposals.
“Therefore, it is vital that the members of the committees who handle tax and revenue legislation be informed immediately of possible fiscal impact,” the letter said. “It is critical that the legislature and the citizens of Pennsylvania have all the time possible to examine, consider and possibly amend a plan that could have costs and implications well into the next generation.”
After months of negotiations with several states, Shell Chemical announced in March their intention to develop a $4 billion cracking plant on the site of a soon-to-be-abandoned zinc plant in Beaver County.
The Corbett administration and industry officials said such a plant would generate as many as 10,000 construction jobs and hundreds of permanent positions in a region that has been hit hard by the collapse of the steel economy and the recent recession.
FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER:
Dear Governor Corbett:
As you know, Senate Democrats were quick with praise for your administration’s efforts to convince Shell Chemical to develop their petrochemical cracker plant in Western Pennsylvania.
The jobs and economic development from such a facility would be a tremendous boost to a region hit hard by a changing economy and the recent recession. However, there are a number of questions which have arisen and growing indications that important details of the arrangement with Shell have not been disclosed to the members of the General Assembly.
We are sure you are aware of public reports asserting that there are long term tax and revenue implications. Therefore, it is vital that the members of the committees who handle tax and revenue legislation be informed immediately of possible fiscal impact. Then, the full General Assembly should be briefed.
With less than a month to go before the budget deadline, we ask that members of your
administration privy to the particulars of the petrochemical cracker deal meet with Democratic members of the Senate Appropriations and Finance Committees to explain legislative action that might be necessary to consummate the deal with Shell.
It is critical that the legislature and the citizens of Pennsylvania have time to examine, consider and possibly amend a plan that could have costs and implications well into the next generation.
We are available to meet at your earliest convenience.
Vincent J. Hughes