Peter Jackson of the Associated Press, reporting in today’s local paper, has Pennsylvania Governor and man of the people, Tom Corbett, assuring citizens that he will “not let them poison the water.” Smokey Diamond, our intrepid reporter, and I would like to offer Tom a shout-out—“Good job Tom, we were hoping that the prevention of a poisoned drinking supply wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for the governor. Well done.” Corbett was talking about the release of natural gas by fracking in the Marcellus Shale deposits in the Northeastern part of the state. Tommy will not tax the natural gas producers, which makes Pennsylvania the only major state that does not.
That is all part of the story we already know, but Smokey and I would really like to speak to Peter Jackson (AP), whose interviewing skills, we are afraid, leave a bit to be desired. As Smokey pointed out to me, “you really need to listen to what politicians are saying when you interview them.” Occasionally, what they say may lead to a follow up question.” “This is particularly true when what they say makes no sense at all.” Got that Peter?
So when Peter Jackson asked Tom Corbett, “Why do other States tax gas and not Pennyslvania?” Corbett, using Texas as an example, replied, “Texas doesn’t have a personal income tax.” “Texas doesn’t have a property tax.” “So when you are talking about taxes, don’t you think we ought to compare …oranges to oranges?” “Pennsylvania has a state income tax and local property tax.”
Here poor Peter might have asked:
“So Tom, do you think by taxing Marcellus Shale our property and income tax will go up?”
“No, Peter, that’s not what I meant.”
“Did you mean to say that one reason Texas doesn’t need property or income tax is that they tax their energy producers?”
“No, Peter, that’s not what I meant to say, either.”
“Tom. What is it that you meant to say, when you started babbling about the lack of taxes in Texas?” “Logically, your words can only mean that taxing the natural gas producers will result in lower personal taxes.”
“Here, Peter,” replied Tom Corbett “Have an orange.”