Gov. Corbett's proposal to let counties charge minimal shale-gas impact fees is nowhere near what Pennsylvania needs. But it does put Harrisburg lawmakers on notice that, now, it's up to them to do the right thing for this state.

The governor's long-awaited plan is a major disappointment from the standpoint of meeting the state's many pressing fiscal needs. On the environmental front, it offers little assurance that water supplies will be any better safeguarded from the pollution perils of the hydraulic-fracturing drilling process.

Perhaps this should come as no surprise from a governor whose bid for office was fueled by hefty natural-gas industry campaign donations, and who ruled out an extraction tax on Marcellus Shale gas even though every other major drilling state levies one.

Straitjacketed by his no-tax campaign pledge to conservatives and tea-party factions, Corbett suggests that counties should keep the lion's share of an impact fee that would raise as little as 20 cents on the dollar of a full-fledged extraction tax.

Of every $1 raised, Corbett would share a pittance - 25 cents - with the state treasury. That would go toward gas-related environmental protection, highway and bridge repairs, emergency response, pipeline safety, and health studies. But even with increased penalties for drilling mishaps, the proposal's revenues would fall far short of the state's needs and miss a golden opportunity to cover statewide green initiatives now starved for funds.

In a masterful demonstration of how to kick the can down the road, the governor would leave the actual vote on his impact fee to elected county officials. That means the state could be left with a patchwork of fees that, as the state commissioners' association notes, could lead to border-war competition for drilling rigs.

It's more clear than ever that the legislature must do the hard work of passing a real tax that benefits all state residents. One good idea is the extraction-fee proposal from state Reps. Thomas Murt (R., Montgomery) and Gene DiGirolamo (R., Bucks) that annually would raise nearly a half-billion dollars.

Fully two-thirds of Pennsylvanians tell pollsters they back a statewide shale tax. So lawmakers - especially Philadelphia-area Republicans - should enact a tax and tougher drilling rules with confidence the public is on their side.