Toledo Blade: Governor Kasich needs a bolder fracking plan

Today the Toledo Blade editorial board weighed in on Governor Kasich’s plan to change Ohio’s oil and gas severance taxes on frackers.

The proposal—expected to emerge in his Mid-Biennium Review budget bill this week—would set Ohio’s tax on natural gas extraction at 1 percent, well below the rates of most other natural gas producing states, and far below the level proposed by Innovation Ohio in our report, Fairness, Fracking and the Future.

The Blade concludes:

he needs a bolder plan than the one he intends to introduce to the Ohio General Assembly on Wednesday. Failure to tax new oil and gas drilling at an appropriate level could leave the state stuck with the bill when the oil barons leave with their fistfuls of cash.”

They suggest Kasich look to Innovation Ohio’s recommendations when setting an appropriate rate of taxation. They further urge the Governor to consider, as Innovation Ohio proposed, returning the proceeds to Ohio’s schools and local governments so badly hurt by his state budget, rather than serving up an election year tax cut that would add up to pennies a week for the average wage-earner.

Taxpayers will get a little more spending money, but a Kasich spokesman said the motivation is to give small businesses a boost so that they will create jobs. That formula often does not yield the intended results.

A better plan would be to use the cash infusion to restore state funds to education, law enforcement, transportation, environmental protection, public health, and other essential services that were cut to balance the state budget.

The Governor’s budget is set to be unveiled at a press event today at 1pm. A livestream will be available on the Governor’s website. Hearings will follow in the General Assembly, starting with testimony from his OBM Director in the House Finance Committee tomorrow afternoon.