Governor Tom Corbett spoke at a Harrisburg news conference this week to present “the largest taxpayer-paid financial incentives project in Pennsylvania history," the Associated Press reports.
The move comes as Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell PLC has inked a preliminary deal to build a large refinery about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.
Watch the video to see Gov. Corbett talk about the proposed Shell refinery in March.
The proposed tax credit would take effect in 2017 and be worth up to $66 million a year to the energy company for 25 years.
Characterized by Corbett as an effort to "invest in a new industrial revolution," the plan's supporters say it would create as many as 17,000 "spin-off jobs," in addition to the 400 jobs at the Shell site and 10,000 temporary construction jobs, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Some critics, however, have asked why Corbett is supporting a $1.7 billion tax break to the energy industry at the expense of taxpayers.
"While Gov. Corbett asks us to keep ponying up our hard earned tax dollars, and to tighten our belts at home, the Governor is proposing to give Shell Oil—who enjoyed $31 billion in profits last year alone—a massive taxpayer handout of nearly $2 billion," wrote David Masur, director of PennEnvironment, in an email to that group's supporters on Tuesday.
Supporters of the Corbett plan believe it will “lure an integrated petrochemical industry to a state wracked by the flight of manufacturing jobs in the recent decades,” writes the AP's Matt Levy.
Corbett himself rejected the notion that his plan constituted "giving money" to the energy industry, instead characterizing it as a way to bring jobs to the state.
The governor is believed to be pushing for a vote on the package before the end of the current legislative session at the end of the month.