In an about face from yesterday, Gov. Rendell announced today there was new progress in talks over taxing natural gas extraction.

Rendell said after noontime negotiations with legislative leaders Wednesday there appeared to be agreement to work to close a deal on a Marcellus Shale tax before the Nov. 2 election.

"All leaders evidenced a real sense of urgency to get this done if it could be done," said Rendell at a news conference.
There is a small window of time left in the current two-year legislative session in which to enact such a tax.

Still at issue with Senate Republicans, who control that chamber, is the rate of taxation and the distribution allocation. Rendell offered up a compromise yesterday to tax gas production at 3 percent the first year, 4 percent the second, and 5 percent after the third. The other issue is how much of the tax revenue will go to local municipalities, the environment and the state general fund. Rendell also said negotiators worked on exemptions for shallow gas wells - or those run by smaller companies.

Thursday is that last session day scheduled for the Senate, but it could add more days to the calendar. A tax bill passed the state House last month.

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