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· April 17, 2012

House Dems move to fund schools & local governments while GOP balks at taxing oil companies

Late last week, House Republican leaders announced plans to split Governor Kasich’s 2,833 page mid-biennium review of the two year state budget into ten separate bills. Earlier, you may recall, GOP leaders amended the bill to remove a proposal to apply a higher tax rate to oil and gas extraction, directing the proceeds to a small across the board income tax cut. So, now that they’ve had a month to review the proposal and hear from interested parties, did legislators find room in one of the ten bills to take on the question of appropriate taxation of the expected boom in oil and natural gas drilling in Ohio? It turns out, they did not. Meanwhile, House Democrats are not waiting. Yesterday, they unveiled a proposal to capture current surplus funds, backfilled by a modest increase in the oil & gas severance tax and deposit them into a newly-created “Kids and Communities Fund” that would restore some of the support that local communities and schools lost in the last state budget.

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