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

Hennes Paynter Communications

Metro RTA

Wayside Furniture

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

Fate of Ohio's oil and gas severance tax bill is uncertain
Some senators are voting against it, wanting a higher tax rate

Karen Kasler
The severance tax would gain revenue from Ohio oil drillers.
Courtesy of WKSU File Photos
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

A new tax on oil and natural gas drillers is halfway through the legislature, but is facing an uncertain future. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports on the debate in the House.


Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:27)

The bill puts a 2.5 percent severance tax on gross receipts on shale wells that are horizontally fractured, and allows drillers to deduct the commercial activity tax they pay from the severance tax they owe. It is estimated that will bring in $316 million over five years, which would go to an income tax cut. That was enough to get most House Democrats to vote against it, including Bob Hagan of Youngstown.

“We’re just going to give a tax break to those individuals who already get tax breaks," Hagen says. "I mean, it’s amazing. It’s like a reverse campaign contribution.”

Hagan also blasted the size of the fracking tax, which will be among the lowest in the country. It is lower than the severance tax in Republican Gov. John Kasich’s budget last year, and lower than what he proposed in his budget update this year. House Republicans who wrote and revised this bill several times note that it sends some proceeds to local governments impacted by fracking.

Republican Brian Hill of Zanesville voted against the bill in committee. He voted for it on the floor only because lawmakers approved his amendment to raise the percentage going to local governments from 15 percent to 17.5 percent.

“My support of this bill comes from not increasing the tax on local and the gas and oil industry, other than to do some of the things we’ve talked about as far as helping with the orphan wells and the regulatory side so that we’re being good stewards of our land and our resources,” Hill says.

The bill provides $21 million for the Department of Natural Resources for regulation, to cap orphan wells and for geological mapping. But another lawmaker from fracking country, Democrat Jack Cera of Bellaire, said the money going to those poverty-stricken and neglected communities is not nearly enough to help.

“I come up here and I see all the great things going on in Columbus and other large cities, and I think – ‘our crap still runs in our creeks in eastern Ohio’ and how sad that is," Cera says. "Investing in the infrastructure in eastern Ohio would help the industry, certainly a lot more than providing an income tax to Ohioans.”

But Republicans who backed the bill cautioned that while they feel this bill is not perfect, the industry could still be scared off by high taxes. Dave Hall is from Millersburg in Amish country, which has seen a number of drilling companies in recent years.

“They’re not in New York and New York wishes they were," Hall says. "They’re gone. You only have so many drilling rigs in the United States and North America. There’s competition for the investment.”

Three Democrats voted for the tax, and six of the House’s most conservative Republicans voted against it, those on the committee that had approved the tax said they opposed it because they feel it is a tax shift that grows government.

The sponsor of the bill said after two years of debate over a severance tax, he thinks the bill will bring drillers clarity. But maybe not for a while. It is been mentioned by several lawmakers that changes are possible in the Senate. And Gov. Kasich has said that this severance tax increase will not be enough for the income tax cut that he wants.

Add Your Comment


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


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Charter reform bill includes controversial change for some teachers
I work for a former White Hat charter school; it was sold to another (for-profit) company this past summer and we were told that they would not pay into STRS/PE...

Bhutanese resettlement has had a big economic impact
Informative especially for nonmembers of North Hill. I appreciate the fact that you mention that the younger generation has an easier time than the elders but t...

Ottawa County Commissioner sworn in as new house member
Congratulations on your new appointment to the Ohio House. I'm certain you will do an outstanding job in your new role representing our district. When you have...

Holden Arboretum opens a new canopy walk and emergent tower
Visited the Holden Arboretum today to witness the incredible work you did constructing the tower and bridges.WOW! Very impressed. Knew the build had to be great...

Local club works to bring back the once-prevalent American elm
I would love to help! Where would I get some of the new Strain so I could plant them?

Four Geauga school districts consider consolidating on the Kent State campus
Berkshire was smart to merge with Ledgemont because it had shrinking enrollment and excess capacity at its high school. Now that Cardinal is dragging its feet ...

Ohio Rep. John Boccieri sworn into office and hopes to look for 'middle ground' with colleagues
Welcome back to the Statehouse, John. You are a terrific representative in the truest sense always representing the people's voice in teh district you serve. ...

Lawmakers call for indefinite freeze on Green Energy standards
It's a shame the Hudson Rep. Chooses to mimic the words of the extreme right senator on his way out to join ALEC when we know the Pope was just here because of...

Youngstown Schools file suit against the Ohio Department of Education to stop the implementation of an academic distress commission
Voters should ask WHY this plan was rushed into law under the cover of darkness. What clues point to the beneficiaries of this plan? Both Patrick O'Donnell of...

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