Poll: Ohioans want oil & gas revenue to restore budget cuts

As we have reported, Ohio’s tax on the extraction of oil and gas is one of the nation’s lowest. With the state on the verge of a shale “fracking” boom, we argued that the tax should be increased to a level similar to that of Texas, a state not considered unfriendly to drillers. The proceeds, we demonstrated, could go a long way toward restoring drastic cuts in the last state budget.

Governor Kasich proposed a more modest increase of the tax, but instead of restoring his cuts to communities and schools, he instead proposed using the money to fund an income tax cut. Under the plan, the wealthy would receive thousands, but ordinary Ohioans would see around $19 per year, to start.

A new poll, conducted jointly by the Ohio School Boards Association, Ohio Association of School Business Officials and Buckeye Association of School Administrators, asked Ohio voters what they’d like to see tax proceeds from oil and gas drilling used:

Slightly more than half of those polled said new revenue from the shale oil and gas taxes should be used to restore state funding cuts to local governments and schools. About a third of respondents said that money should be used to lower state income taxes, according to the organizations. (Gongwer News Service, 9/17/12)

By a wide margin, Ohioans prefer our approach of using the proceeds of oil and gas drilling to restore cuts to schools and local governments. We hope that the Governor and General Assembly, set to take up the issue during upcoming budget negotiations, take note.