Wolf promises veto on natural gas tax incentive

Gov. Tom Wolf tours the construction site of the Beaver County methane cracker plant. (Gov. Tom Wolf/Flickr)

Gov. Tom Wolf has pledged to veto a bill offering millions of dollars in tax credits to businesses that build new petrochemical or fertilizer production plants in Northeastern Pennsylvania, his spokesman said Monday.

The Senate is poised to vote this week on the measure, sponsored by Rep. Aaron Kaufer, R-Luzerne, that the Revenue Department expects will cost Pennsylvania $1 billion in lost revenue over 10 years.

Administration spokesman J.J. Abbott confirmed to the Capital-Star on Monday that Wolf would oppose Kaufer’s bill, which requires companies to use Pennsylvania natural gas to produce petrochemicals and fertilizers.

“[Wolf] believes such projects should be evaluated on a specific case-by-case basis,” Abbott said in an emailed statement. 

The Senate on Monday amended Kaufer’s bill to require tax credit recipients to pay workers prevailing wage and to make “a good faith effort” to employ local contractors during construction.

The amendment also lowered the amount of money firms are required to invest in construction from $1 billion to $450 million.

The bill originated in the Republican-sponsored Energize PA package last year, and was the only component that passed through the House. 

Wolf has previously voiced his opposition to the proposals, which are designed to incentivize petrochemical production and create jobs in the natural gas industry. But he has supported petrochemical projects before, including a plant in Beaver County that will turn natural gas into plastic pellets.