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Kasich continues to push drilling taxes -- and warns of worse
Drillers continue to push back

Bill Cohen
Gov. Kasich is among those who dismiss claims that higher severance taxes will chase drillers from Ohio.
Courtesy of M.L. Schultze
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In The Region:

Gov. John Kasich is warning oil and gas drillers -- if they keep telling Ohio legislators to block his plan to raise the tax they pay on underground energy sources, the drillers could wind up with something worse -- a ballot issue that would raise taxes on them even higher. But Statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen reports there’s no clear sign that a ballot issue could be looming.

COHEN: Jockeying over taxes

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COHEN: Extended version on tax battle

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Gov. Kasich has been telling the energy companies his plan to raise severance taxes is nowhere as big as what liberal activists are  pushing.

“What some of these companies need to be concerned about is someone doing a ballot initiative and raising it to 8 or 9 percent which would really hurt the industries.”

The left-of-center think tank, innovation Ohio, has proposed a bigger tax hike than what Kasich is pushing. But spokesman Dale Butland says the group has not been thinking about a petition drive that would put its alternative up for a vote. “We don’t have any plans at the moment to put something on the ballot.”

Meanwhile, Ohio drillers continue to oppose both proposals.

Drilling industry lobbyist Tom Stewart says Kasich’s warning just adds fuel to the fire.

“I don’t know why we’re teeing up the situation where we’re encouraging all kinds of people to enter into the debate about how to take other people’s money.”

Stewart says higher taxes could drive drillers out of Ohio.

Critics of the industry dismiss that, noting that drillers stand to make big profits from Ohio’s energy-packed shale even if the taxes go up.

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