Full Transcript: Steve Snell Announcement Speech
Thursday, October 12th 2017
Red Lion, PA

Good morning. My name is Steve Snell. With mixed emotions I stand here today to declare my candidacy for the 94th District of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The first emotion is enthusiasm because I am anxious to directly serve all the citizens of southeastern York County and indirectly the citizens of the entire Commonwealth. I believe I have demonstrated a lifetime of service to the community and I know I have more to give. And I strongly believe that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives needs help.

The other emotions are disappointment and frustration. We have, year after year, played the budget game, keeping our public schools, college students, agencies and millions of citizens on edge, wondering if the budget impasse will affect them. It is indeed disappointing that we have not learned how to resolve it. It is absurd to pass a spending bill and only later try to find the money to support that spending. Even though one side of the aisle controls both chambers of the General Assembly, they have yet to agree among themselves and no proposal for revenue has been formally presented to the governor. This shows that there is something structurally and procedurally dysfunctional in the way we adopt budgets in Pennsylvania. Something needs to change.

Meanwhile the press has captured an interesting conversation between Senator Wagner and my district’s incumbent. It appears to suggest that the revenue that could be derived from Marsellus shale drilling has been not only a gift to that private industry but also a partisan political tool. We have all wondered why, despite wide public support for fair taxation of that industry, the House refuses to consider it. Every other state taxes that industry so why would we ignore that source of revenue. Polls suggest that 70% of the public believes this to be a fair tax. Senator Wagner’s reported request of Representative Saylor, however, suggests that he believes it to be a fair tool to help his own election chances. Saylor, of course, claims that the request had no impact on his decision to oppose it. So what did?

Of the over 1,600 registered lobbyists in Harrisburg, over two hundred represent the extraction industries. How have they persuaded House leadership to give them a pass year after year and what do they expect in return? I think it demands that we investigate the campaign contributions made directly or indirectly to Republican leaders like Stan Saylor. Ignoring this revenue is at the expense of the public. Yes, at our expense. They would rather consider raiding other funds, jeopardizing programs that benefit us, increasing gambling or leaving debts for our children to repay.

And let’s remember that natural gas from Marcellus shale is a natural resource that once expended will be gone for all time. It is the gift of God and mother nature to the people of Pennsylvania. If these mineral rights are permitted, they should be taxed appropriately to benefit we the people of Pennsylvania. Instead, huge energy companies plan to dig pipelines through our backyards in order to sell that gas overseas. The resulting profits to those companies must be taxed to help our citizens.

What that revenue could be used for is to close the gap between the spending that has already been authorized by the Republican House and the revenue needed to make that possible. That seems like such a just and sensible solution that maybe my stated emotion of disappointment is too mild. Outrage might be more accurate.

My decision to run for the state House of Representatives is motivated by other issues as well, such as property tax reform, term limits and other changes needed to strengthen the citizens voice in Harrisburg. They will be addressed as the campaign unfolds in the coming year.