2009-12-31 / Local & State

Rendell To Pursue Shale Tax, School Funding Hike

By Marc Levy ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Gov. Ed Rendell will press for another increase in public school funding and a tax on natural gas production when he presents his last state budget in February.

But the Democrat wouldn’t say Wednesday whether he will use his final year in office to try to head off a fiscal “tsunami’’ that he warns is headed toward Pennsylvania after his term ends.

After he leaves office, he estimates the state will need to close a revenue gap of $4.5 billion to $5.5 billion, or more than 15 percent of this year’s approved budget.

That’s to replace the temporary federal stimulus dollars distributed to help states through the recession and to meet an anticipated increase in public employee pension obligations.

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