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Wagner urged blocking shale tax to deny Wolf re-election

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — A Republican state senator running for governor is on a recording telling a crowd that he’s urged House Appropriations Committee Chairman Stan Saylor to block a tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas production to hurt Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s re-election chances.

Scott Wagner speaks at a campaign tour kickoff at one of his Penn Waste facilities Monday, July 10, 2017. During the next four to six weeks, Wagner is planning stops across the state to bolster his gubernatorial run. Bill Kalina photo

Sen. Scott Wagner’s comments were recorded Sept. 14 at a York County event by a Democratic Party tracker.

On the recording, Wagner, R-Spring Garden, says, “I said, ‘Stan, you cannot let this severance tax get through and it gets to the governor’s desk, because if that happens the governor is going to get re-elected. Stan, you take that to the bank.’”

Wagner’s campaign didn’t challenge the recording’s authenticity. The office of Saylor, R-Windsor, says he already opposes the tax.

Beth Melena, a spokeswoman for the state Democratic Party, said: "Republicans in the Legislature conspiring with their gubernatorial candidate to block a shale tax for electoral gain is Harrisburg at its very worst. Scott Wagner seems to have swamp fever."

Saylor and other House Republican leaders oppose severance tax legislation as part of a budget deal with Wolf.

Stan Saylor