News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

The Holden Arboretum

Hospice of the Western Reserve

Akron Children's Hospital


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Government and Politics




Year in review: Democrats were the big -- but not only -- losers in the Statehouse
Ohio laws that never saw light include the governor's severance tax and regulation of internet cafes
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT BILL COHEN
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter
Bill Cohen
 
The drilling in Ohio is largely based in Caroll and Colombiana county. Gov. Kasich says drillers should pay more to access Ohio's resources.
Courtesy of Tim Rudell
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Just because a state legislator or governor introduces a bill doesn’t mean it becomes law. And 2012 saw many examples of that in the Ohio General Assembly. Our statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen reports on some major proposals that never made it out of the proposal stage.

COHEN: What didn't pass but might be back

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:19)


For the second straight year, though the Ohio Senate and House are dominated by Republicans, both chambers ignored Gov. John Kasich’s plan to hike the severance tax on oil and gas.

Republican lawmakers seem to agree with gas industry lobbyist Tom Stewart, who warned that drillers may move their rigs out of Ohio if their taxes go up.

Stewart maintains. “It can Mozambique; it can off the coast of Africa, anywhere in the world.”

But environmentalists and other activists on the left want even bigger severance tax hike than Kasich is proposing. Janetta King says the industry can well-afford to pay more, and it’s too invested in Ohio’s shale boom and profits to move now.

“The benefits should not be transferred out of state or allowed to flow down a one-way street in the direction of big oil.”

Kasich tried to sell his own tax hike plan by vowing that every new dollar raised would go toward a state income tax cut for everyone. But that upset Democrats, who see an income tax cut as favoring the rich. And so, with opposition from the political right and left, the governor’s proposed tax shift went nowhere; even though a state-wide poll showed Ohioans backed it 2-1.

Surcharge unplugged
Another proposal on the energy front also fizzled this year. The electric company, First Energy, proposed that Ohio scrap its energy efficiency program. It tacks a surcharge onto customer’s bills and then uses the money to pay incentives to people and companies to buy energy saving appliances and equipment.

The Akron-based utility argued the incentives have cost it half a billion dollars and that consumers are already energy conscious without the incentives.

But Sierra Club leader Jed Thorp successfully argued that for every dollar in surcharges, customers save three. 

“Regardless of whether or not you directly get a rebate for a new washing machine or a new refrigerator, these programs are bringing down electric rates for everybody in Ohio.”

Gov. Kasich hinted he agrees and the plug was pulled on the idea of scrapping the energy efficiency program

Democrats fizzle
With Democrats in the minority in the Statehouse, many of their ideas stalled this year. That included a measure to outlaw discrimination in hiring those who don’t already have jobs. Denise XXX, has said employers don’t even give her a chance to plead for a job.

“Once you tell someone you have been off for two or three months, they have a tendency to not want to hire you, because you haven’t been employed for a while. You can tell it in the tone of their voice and look in their face.”

But Republicans shelved the idea of making discrimination a violation of Ohio’s civil rights law. One reason: business advocates say it isn’t much of a problem. And they say companies may have good reason to fear unemployed people might have rusty job skills or a deteriorating work ethic.

Rainy day no more?
Ohio is building up hundreds of millions in its rainy day fund. So unions and Democrats called for some of that to offset layoffs and spending cuts at local schools and governments, which got hit hard by cuts in state funding.

“The rainy day fund is growing, and it is raining in local communities,” says Jay McDonald of the Fraternal Order of Police.

But once again most Republicans ignored the idea to death. GOP State Rep. John Adams gave the rationale

“The track record is lousy over the last 40 years, taking taxpayer dollars and just blowing and not saving it for a rainy day.”

Internet  cafes escape, for now
As the legislative session drew to a close, critics of Ohio’s 800 internet cafes and sweepstakes storefronts convinced the House to pass a bill to put them out of business. The attorney general, prosecutors and police called them fronts for illegal gambling that are going untaxed while raking in big bucks. But state senators stalled the crackdown. Rep. Bill Coley is worried about jobs at the storefronts being destroyed – and jobs going with them.

Still, it is a safe bet the issue of regulating or killing off the internet cafes will re-surface next year.


Related WKSU Stories

Year in review: Ohio lawmakers tackle slavery, exotic animals, public retirement
Monday, December 31, 2012

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook





Stories with Recent Comments

Three exonerated of murder convictions from 18 years ago
Thanks heavens that none of them have been condemned to death. This alons should convince the USA to join the civilized world by abolishing the death penalty. E...

Bringing back ballet in Cleveland
I do think Ballet in Cleveland is doing good things, but the fact that director says "When we have flourishing companies like the New York City Ballet and the A...

Report confirms some Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange
was in nam 1969 exposed va stated lost medical records was in lawsuit from 197? till settled 0 $ 2010 ? said all nam vets will get back disability till 198? jus...

Mentorship grant program redefines "faith-based" provision
Can't anyone have values, beliefs, and morals anymore? How is it anymore unconstitutional for a school partner with a "faith-based" organization than any other ...

Exploradio: The challenge of finding a healthy balance with technology
Thank you, Jeff, for another well done Exploradio. I always learn something interesting about what is happening in NE Ohio.

Northeast Ohio's transgender community rallies around restroom issue
A good first step would be for Cleveland to require restaurants to have a public restroom. Cleveland is the only city I've ever been in where restaurants somet...

Vapor shops say tobacco tax hikes could hit them hard
Maybe you should be DOING a study, since every time you've tried to villianize them all that's happened was the opposite. I'm not a fan of alcohol that's flavor...

New law gives access to birth records to Ohio adoptees
Can siblings also look for their missing brother or sister? And how do we go about it?

Ida McKinley's tiara comes home, with the help of "Pawn Stars"
I donated to the fund to keep the tiara at the museum where I believe it belongs. I took my 16 year old granddaughter to the showing I dont think it will be som...

ResponsibleOhio names 10 counties as possible pot-growing locations
Ohio has always made its money off our prison system ,and ohio is so hard nose on us the public that there voicing concerns saying there on our behalf bullcrap ...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University