If there was any question before Tuesday that the House Republican caucus was in the pocket of the oil and gas industry, the newest version of the state budget should put that issue to rest.
The substitute version of the state budget (Sub. H.B. 59) that House leadership put forward yesterday removes almost every substantial policy change in the budget that affected the oil and gas industry.
As introduced, Governor Kasich’s budget included multiple changes that addressed outstanding fiscal and regulatory concerns, including:
All of these policy changes — and more — were removed by the House yesterday.
Of course, it was no secret that the oil and gas industry was lobbying House members hard to strip these policy changes from the bill. The industry even went so far as to run ads in members’ districts during the spring break that were pro-oil and gas, including dubious claims that the industry had created 40,000 new jobs.
Next week, the full House is expected to vote on the bill prior to consideration by the Senate.