At the Pennsylvania Society dinner Dec. 10, Gov. Corbett expressed his hope the natural gas industry will usher in a new Gilded Age, and bring what he called "former Pennsylvanians" home to live in a renewed commonwealth, drawn by lower business taxes and fewer restraints on industry, as I wrote in my Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer column here
"I'm all for cheap gas. But wells and pipelines won't be enough to restart the state economy, which relies too much on insular hospital, school, and tourism jobs and not enough on creative enterprise and big technology-based corporations....
"Pennsylvania's economic growth still lags the national average. Gas has attracted out-of-state drillers, construction workers, and truckers to rural counties. Marcellus Shale has boosted motel rates and helped farmers pay debts with gas royalties.  But it won't do much to change the long-term growth or employment picture... unless it attracts huge investments in gas-dependent industrial plants." At least in Philly, so far, we're losing energy jobs, not gaining them. #PAsociety
Note: A reader complained that I put ex-Gov. Rendell on the same plane with Gov. Corbett in opposing a natural-gas extraction tax. Gov. Rendell did support such a tax toward the end of his term. But as was reported at the time, Rendell opposed such a tax when it might have passed, and opposed it only when it was likely to fail in the General Assembly.