Two Arrested at House Speaker Turzai’s McCandless Office While Demanding a Vote on Severance Tax on Marcellus Shale

Pittsburgh, PA—Two protesters today were arrested after a group of community organizations and members of the Services Employees International Union occupied the McCandless office of Speaker Mike Turzai to demand that the House Speaker hold a vote on a state budget that includes a severance tax on Marcellus Shale.

“For Mike Turzai to not even bring the shale tax to the floor for a vote is wrong. This should come to the floor for a vote now,” said Linda Bishop a constituent of Speaker Turzai’s and member of PA12 for Progress.

As state budget negotiations drag on in Harrisburg, Speaker Turzai has refused to tax the natural gas industry and instead has proposed a series of taxes like the controversial hotel tax that would harm job creation in the state.

“Speaker Turzai is singlehandedly stalling the budget process by refusing to allow a vote on a severance tax. This reckless behavior from Speaker Turzia has already cost the state a credit downgrade, will kill thousands of jobs and will very soon mean deep cuts to education, road and bridges and health care,” said Gabe Morgan, Vice President and Pennsylvania Director for 32BJ SEIU. “It’s time to stop playing chicken with the budget and bring forth a long overdue, common sense severance tax to a vote.”

With 163,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., including 22,000 in Pennsylvania, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country