It's not nice to say, "I told you so," but sometimes there's just no choice. When I ran for state government in 2008 and 2010, creating a reasonable severance tax on Marcellus Shale gas production was a centerpiece of my campaigns.
But Central Pennsylvanians like to Just Say No to taxes, and the pro-gas company team won, throughout the Marcellus Shale region. My bottom line was always this: the gas industry is going to create future costs, foreseeable and unforeseeable, and it's only responsible that we prepare to meet those costs.
Gas companies are businesses, and people must understand that they've got to pay to acquire resources. Finally, if we didn't tax the gas companies from Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma to cover the costs associated with their activity in our state, those costs would have to be covered by someone else.
Well, hey, Shazam! Gov. Corbett has made my words come true, more quickly and bald-facedly than I could ever have imagined. He suddenly realized that our roads and bridges are old and in need of repair. Did he hit himself in the forehead and say, "I should've taxed the gas companies?"
No! He said, "Let's raise taxes on the local suckers paying at the pump!" I know a lot of people were enjoying blaming Obama for higher gas prices before the election, but what are they going to say now that it's their governor, the no-new-taxes guy, who is going to make gasoline prices jump by twenty or thirty cents a gallon?
I know what I'm going to say: "I told you so."