"Let's say you're a gambler on a losing streak and you're a whopping $4 billion in the hole. But things have started turning around, and a few hot hands have brought you $300 million or so.
Then you stun the other players by just quitting the game and leaving all that cash on the table.
Some critics say that's exactly what state officials are doing by not passing a severance tax on the huge amount of natural gas being pumped from the Marcellus Shale deep underground in much of the state. Unlike 30 other states, Pennsylvania doesn't have a tax on extracting that particular nonrenewable energy source.
'For us to be the only state that doesn't tax shale gas makes no sense,' said Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill. 'Eliminating that important revenue option from the upcoming budget is irresponsible.'"