The final $27.66 billion budget package includes a tax incentive aimed at luring a Shell Oil Co. plant to Beaver County. A nickel-per-gallon tax credit would be offered to companies beginning in 2017 for purchasing and using ethane from gas wells within the commonwealth. In order to be eligible, a company must invest at least $1 billion and create at least 2,500 construction jobs.
The final decision offered no annual cap on the total credits. An initial proposal had a cap of up to $66 million a year. The tax credit would allow the commonwealth to lure other facilities beyond the potential Shell plant.
The Corbett administration made historic public push for the tax credit. They were aggressive in arguing that the incentive is necessary to ensure the Shell locates the proposed plant in Beaver County instead of West Virginia or Ohio. Corbett has insisted that the plant would provide thousands of jobs in the natural gas industry as well as other industries.
“We are making real progress on our state’s foremost goal: growing new jobs,’’ Corbett said in a press release from his office. “Our goal is to transform Pennsylvania so we’re not only a supplier of natural gas, but also a processor and manufacturer. Simply put: we will usher in a new industrial revolution in Pennsylvania.’’
Labor unions and business leaders rallied behind the proposal which also had heavy support from both Democrats and Republicans—even though it was a Republican-crafted provision.
But the tax incentive hasn’t been popular among all lawmakers. Some remain critical of the addition after unsuccessfully pressing for further requirements in return for the lucrative tax credits.
Shell’s ethane cracker will be located at the site of the Horsehead Holding Co. zinc plant in Beaver County. The plant will close soon, but plans for the cracker project have not been finalized and it may be at least two years until the company reaches a final decision.