Ohio

Ohio Liberty Coalition Bashes Gov. Kasich’s Tax Hike Talk

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The Ohio Liberty Coalition (OLC) sharply criticized Governor John Kasich for a December 10 interview with Brian Thomas of Cincinnati’s 55KRC where Kasich pushed his severance tax hike plan. OLC, an umbrella organization of Tea Party groups from across the state, bashed Kasich’s arguments for increasing taxes on oil and gas “fracking” in order to provide statewide income tax credits.

OLC posted a partial transcript of Kasich’s 55KRC interview in a December 11 entry on the OLC website titled, “You be the judge, are these the words of a conservative governor?”

“At around 8 mins 30 secs into the interview Thomas asks Governor Kasich about the ‘contentious’ issue of the severance tax on the Ohio oil and gas industry,” OLC wrote. “Below are excerpts from that discussion. We ask you, is this a policy of limited government, free markets, and lower taxes?”

Gov. Kasich, a Republican, explained that the severance tax is paid when drillers take “our” resources from the ground, and Thomas asked the governor to clarify whether he was referring strictly to drilling on public land.

“No, no, it’s across the board unless you are a small producer then you actually get a tax cut,” Kasich replied. “This is when Exxon or Chesapeake or any of these people come in here and pull oil out we want to move the severance tax from the twenty cents to four percent.”

Media Trackers has reported that Exxon is a key investment in most of Ohio’s public pension systems – an indication that even if Kasich’s proposed tax increase only hit “Big Oil” companies the pocketbooks of Ohioans would still be negatively affected.

The governor went on to suggest that his plan could be revised upward for an even bigger tax hike on horizontal oil and gas wells, saying, “And frankly our proposal is probably a little low.  So we are going to continue to look at that.”

Thomas argued that oil or gas in private property “doesn’t belong to the state, it’s private,” to which Kasich replied, “Well, but Brian, everybody is making money on this.  And everybody in Ohio ought to benefit from it.”

On December 11, Thomas interviewed Opportunity Ohio founder Matt Mayer, who focused on rebutting Kasich’s severance tax plan arguments and suggested spending cuts instead. OLC posted a partial transcript of Mayer’s interview on December 17.

Mayer referred to his recent research of oil and gas drilling in the state, explaining that production is far short of where government officials estimated it would be. He noted Ohio’s variety of other business taxes, as Artex Oil Company president Jerry James did in a June interview with Media Trackers.

“As we all know, companies that produce products and services pass along the taxation as a business cost in the goods’ and services’ costs. We will pay more for the extracted oil,” Thomas said when Mayer mentioned that oil and gas companies will pass on the tax increase to consumers.

Mayer also told Thomas, “what worried me most over your interview yesterday was when [Gov. Kasich] said that he actually thought maybe his tax hike was too low and they are looking at maybe even making it higher than it currently was proposed to be.”

“So that’s the kind of stuff where — that’s that slippery slope where, you know, once you find something that you think you can tax, you start taxing more,” Mayer said. “As Reagan and Milton Freidman noted, if you want less of something tax it.  And so we’re going to do that and we’re getting less of it in Ohio.”

OLC, which was granted tax-exempt status from the IRS as a 501(c)(4) organization earlier this month, included Kasich’s full December 10 55KRC interview and Mayer’s December 11 interview at the end of its two blog posts.

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