Tax Hike Should Benefit East Ohio

Simple fairness dictates that if Ohio legislators enact a new tax on gas and oil drilling, counties providing the bounty should benefit more than other Buckeye State residents.

Lawmakers are considering increases in the state severance tax, of up to 2 percent on gas and oil produced from certain types of wells. The idea, first suggested by Gov. John Kasich, is to provide money for a statewide income tax reduction.

That is fine – providing it does not adversely affect Ohio’s ability to attract gas and oil drilling.

But before the $200 million a year expected to come from the tax is distributed, counties where wells are being drilled should get some of the money. Two Republican state representatives, Jay Hottinger of Newark and Al Landis of Dover, point out gas boom counties should be compensated for road damage and other expenses related to drilling.

They are absolutely right. If legislators go forward with the tax, amendments suggested by Landis and Hottinger to benefit counties where wells are located – mostly in East Ohio, for now – should be adopted.