Barrar: Shale tax and selling state stores are priorities

The privatization of state
stores and a tax on Marcellus shale are the two biggest issues facing the state
Republican caucus in the Pennsylvania legislature, according to state Rep.
Stephen Barrar, R-160, of Boothwyn.

Barrar made the comment during
a health and safety fair at Endo Pharmaceuticals in Chadds Ford Township
Saturday.

The Delaware Country
representative said the debate on the shale is whether to go to an impact fee
or a Marcellus shale tax.

Barrar would like to see some
of that money go directly to the people of Pennsylvania in a manner similar to
how oil money goes to the people of Alaska.

“The real debate is going to be
where the money will be spent. My idea is to put the money into a fund. [That]
money generated from a Marcellus shale tax, part of it would go back to local
communities, part of it will go to environmental protection and part of it will
be used to send a check — every two years — to every man woman and child in the
state for the balanced of that fund,” he said. “An income tax reduction would
be just as worthy,” he added later.

Barrar foresees Pennsylvania
becoming “the number one energy producing state in the country” in five years.

“If people really believe that
the natural resources really belong to the people of Pennsylvania, then we
should do something to make sure every person benefits, like Alaska does,”
Barrar said.

The money should not be used
for additional spending, because, he said, ”We’re spending enough. We don’t
need to spend anymore.”

Even without a tax on the
shale, revenue because of it will still increase in the state by $5 billion, he
said.

The other hot issue is the
privatization of the state-owned wine and spirit shops, the state stores.

It’s an old idea, but Barrar
said the chances of the state actually selling those properties are better now
and it could come to a vote soon.

“It should come to a vote
before we adjourn for the Christmas break, I’m hoping. Our Majority Leader Mike
Turzai [R-Allegheny County] is the prime sponsor of the bill. I think the bill
has more momentum than we’ve ever seen in the legislature because we’re in a
different position than we were when Dick Thornburg tried and when Gov. Ridge
tried. We’re actually in a very serious financial position. If we can sell the
state stores for $2 billion, and still increase the amount of revenue coming
into the state from the increased number of licensees out there, I think that’s
a good thing for the commonwealth,” said Barrar.

The fair itself saw 53 vendors,
government and private health and service providers, displaying their wares and
services. The featured attraction was a demonstration of the Aston Township K-9
police unit.

Oohs and ahs came from young
and old alike as K-9 Jax, under the control of officer Mikell Jones, showed off
his protective skills.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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