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Gas Drillers Oppose Kasich Tax Idea
Posted on: 12/27/2012
By  Mike Cullums
 
The oil and gas industry is not supportive of Governor John Kasich’s plan to lower state income taxes for Ohioans. That’s because Kasich wants to make the income tax revenue-neutral by hiking the severance tax on oil and gas drillers who are coming to the get the newly found shale deposits in eastern Ohio.
 
Kasich says the tax would still be considerable lower than what many other states impose. That includes West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The governor believes his proposal isn’t really that big a deal to the industry.
 
“There was an apprehension that, well, if you put this (tax) on, you’ll drive everybody away. Are you kidding me? Every single time I meet with the industry privately, you know what they say? We (the state) should take this and run,” Kasich says. “But then they get their lobbyists and these other people and they obscure the issue. But it will become clear and it will become part of our tax reform."
 
Two polls in recent months have shown a majority of Ohioans support Kasich’s proposal.
 
But Tom Stewart, executive vice president of and spokesman for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, says Governor Kasich isn’t making any new friends with an important industry for the state’s future.
 
Stewart says Kasich, “is obviously trying to create a way to angle toward taxation and otherwise confiscating capital investment out of this industry. This industry is probably the job creator going in the state of Ohio, the numbers are going to prove that, and I think the governor’s going to regret very much bringing up this issue now.”  
 
And Stewart says Kasich is obviously downplaying the significance and potential impact of his tax proposal.
 
“He makes it sound so simple; that it’s just four percent. But that’s a four percent gross receipts tax and an eight or nine percent net revenue industry. So what’s he’s really talking about is taking half the revenues that should be plowed back primarily into eastern Ohio, to develop more economic opportunity for the citizens of eastern Ohio, for all the small businesses, including many of my members who are dependent on that capital investment,” says Stewart. 

The industry spokesman says he’s in touch with Ohio lawmakers and more than a few are disturbed by the creation of a special tax on one industry.
 
State Representative Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) is among those who do not support Kasich’s proposal.
 
Interviews conducted and produced by ONN Radio. 
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