By Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG (CBS) — Governor Tom Corbett is on the heat seat as the result of his proposal to give of tens of millions of dollars in annual tax credits for a petrochemical refinery planned by Shell Oil Company in western Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania competed with Ohio and West Virginia to land the ethane-cracking plant, which would be in line for $67-million dollars in tax credits a year for a 25 year period starting in 2017.
“We have the opportunity to grow and build an entirely new industry in the state that will result in billions of dollars of private investment and tens of thousands of new, permanent jobs,” said Steve Kratz, a spokesman for the state Department of Community and Economic Development.
But at a time when lagging tax revenues have prompted the governor to propose painful cuts, critics immediately pounced on the news, calling it a cash grant to the world’s second largest company. But Democratic leaders of the House and Senate, many of whom are from western Pennsylvania, were more reserved, saying they need more information on the proposal.