Over the past few years, Governor Tom Corbett has handed out 1.2 billion in tax cuts to his wealthy, corporate donors, while not raising any taxes. To plug those holes, the governor has had to cut back programs, education and higher education. Now, the chicken is coming home to roost. The state is facing a $1.4 billion and there hasn’t been any real solutions to plug the deficit gaps. One solution that Governor Corbett proposed in his fourth budget address was to lift the fracking moratorium in state parks and forests. This would raise roughly $75 million and the governor acted on his promises by unilaterally lifting the moratorium on the beginning of the Memorial Day holiday.
This is probably one of the greatest examples of Governor Corbett’s fiscal arsonry to date. The state is facing a $1.4 billion, some say $1.7 billion, budget deficit. Math may be a bitch for some to comprehend, but the governor’s proposal of lifting the drilling moratorium in parks and forests will potentially plug 4.7 percent to 5.3 percent of the $1.4 to $1.7 billion deficit. Let me say that again…it will only account for 4.7 to 5.3 percent of the deficit.
The notion of drilling in the state’s natural parks and forests for a minimal solution to the growing budget deficit has been met with criticism. Yesterday, former Department of Environmental Protection secretary John Hanger sent an email out on Tom Wolf’s behalf, and in the email, Hanger stated:
By lifting this moratorium, Governor Corbett has proven yet again that he’s willing to give away our state’s natural resources to big oil and gas companies at the expense of the environment, our state constitution, and the people of Pennsylvania.
The plan is so popular that Governor Corbett’s officials in the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources doesn’t think that this is good for the environment. In Commonwealth Court, Dan Devil, the Deputy Secretary of Parks and Forests, told the court that “[drilling] really isn’t beneficial from an ecological standpoint, but I guess it’s beneficial maybe from an economic standpoint.”