by Danny Cross
Plan to reduce income tax by taxing gas and oil companies met with opposition from industry
Gov. John Kasich
yesterday outlined a plan to reduce Ohio income taxes over a
five-year period and make up for the reduction in revenue by taxing
the oil and natural gas extraction industries his administration is
luring to the state. The resultant pushback from gas and oil
companies now pits opposition to various parts of Kasich’s drilling
plan from both sides — industry and environmentalists.
Dan Whitten, a vice
president at America’s Natural Gas Alliance, a Washington-based
trade group, had already expressed opposition to the idea, on March 8 telling Bloomberg in an email: “Natural-gas
production is a capital-intensive undertaking and we believe
generally that fees should be directed to communities where we work,
with careful consideration of the possible direct jobs impacts.”Other trade organizations today spoke out against the increased tax rates, as they would prefer to take all the energy out of Ohio’s land and not pay
executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, told
The Cleveland Plain Dealer that his organization will fight
the tax increase when the plan goes before lawmakers.
"This sounds like
something that would have come from the left," Steward said.
Among the methods of
extracting the natural gas is a controversial process called
fracking, which involves blasting pressurized slurries of water,
chemicals and sand into ancient shale formations, thousands of feet
below ground. CityBeat reported on Jan. 24 that 43 households
have filed a class-action lawsuit in response various environmental
hazards allegedly caused by fracking in Geauga County, Ohio. From the
Fracking in Ohio is
booming rapidly, thanks in part to the barely tapped potential of the
vast Utica Shale, a gassy, 445-million-year-old rock formation that
lies beneath a third of the state, at a depth of around 7,000 feet.
Until last year, only three permits had been granted for horizontal
drilling into the Utica, but in 2011 the number exceeded 40.
In 2004 Ohio’s
State Legislature repealed the abilities of elected local governments
to regulate or refuse gas drilling, instead handing full authority to
the industry-friendly Ohio Department of Natural Resources
(ODNR). In 2005, the U.S. Congress ruled to exempt fracking
from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.The gas extraction
process has been found to be so environmentally detrimental that
France and Bulgaria have banned the practice in their countries. New
Jersey is the only U.S. state where it is banned. CityBeat in
January reported that State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Price Hill) had
sponsored one of three state bills that would tighten fracking
regulations and Rep. Robert Hagan (D-Youngstown) introduced a bill to
put a moratorium on wastewater injection. Kasich’s interest in
reducing income taxes comes one year after his two-year budget cost
counties, municipalities and townships $167.1 million, according the
The Columbus Dispatch, which described the plan’s impact on
the state in the following manner: “Kasich's budget slashes aid to
local governments: Tuition hikes limited to 3.5% for higher
Ohio’s budget deficit
was $8 billion when Kasich offered his 2011 budget, which his
administration said would save $1.4 billion through reform measures
that included reduced funding for social service programs such as the
health and developmental disability departments.
Despite the still
existing state budget deficit, Kasich wants to reduce income taxes,
even though his spokesman Scott Milburn proudly told Bloomberg that,
“the governor has already cut taxes by more than $800 million.”
by Kevin Osborne
Duke Energy announced Thursday night that it will help fund a campaign to raise private and government money to replace the outdated Brent Spence Bridge. It will cost about $2.3 billion to replace the span, which carries traffic from I-75 and I-71 over the Ohio River.Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig said an audit to determine methods for improving the Police Department’s efficiency is continuing. Among the latest recommendations, the department will no longer seek accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and that response of a recent shift to 10-hour workdays has been positive.Three development groups have submitted proposals to Covington officials, each vying to be selected to reshape that city’s riverfront area. One of the proposals, drafted by Corporex Realty & Investment and Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment, involves refurbishing the Waterfront Restaurant and creating a floating boardwalk, marina and wharf.A Cincinnati police officer assigned to the Drug Abuse and Resistance Education (DARE) program was suspended without pay this week after she was charged with tampering with records, securing writings by deception and forgery. Sandra Johnson, 38, allegedly said she taught DARE classes and got paid for them when she didn’t. DARE is among the programs being ended by Chief Craig; he has called it ineffective.In news elsewhere, German President Christian Wulff resigned from his position today as head of state amid mounting criticism over a home loan scandal. Wulff has been plagued by allegations since mid-December over his connections to wealthy businessmen, initially over an advantageous home loan from a friend's wife. He then faced claims he tried to hush up the story, as well as reports of free vacations accepted from friends.The Obama administration’s newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to begin monitoring and regulating debt collectors and credit bureaus for the first time. Richard Cordray, the agency’s director, said he wants to ensure people aren’t subjected to abusive practices.An influential group of scientists issued a report this week pressing U.S. officials to tighten regulations of so-called “fracking” operations to reduce environmental and health risks. The independent review of fracking by professors at the University of Texas in Austin said that the development of shale gas was "essential to the energy security of the U.S. and the world,” but added the process needs more oversight.The recent brouhaha over a new federal rule that requires insurance coverage of birth control for women reveals that the Roman Catholic Church has lost its influence in U.S. politics, some observers said. An AlterNet article noted that even though the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops remains opposed to a compromise rule pushed by President Obama, many other Catholic groups — including the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and the Catholic Health Association — are ignoring the conference and accepting it.Police in Fort Worth, Texas, have arrested 16 students in a major drug bust at Texas Christian University, a conservative evangelical institution. The drugs involved included marijuana, ecstasy pills, a powdered form of ecstasy commonly called “molly” and prescription drugs such as Xanax, hydrocodone and Oxycontin. Four football players were among those arrested.
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 1, 2012
The state representative Alicia Reece has introduced a bill that would reduce
the number of reasons for making voters cast provisional ballots and
also clarifies that election officials will be held responsible for
errors instead of blaming voters.
After tremors, lawmakers try to slow down ‘fracking’
1 Comment · Tuesday, January 24, 2012
of 12 unusual earthquakes in northern Ohio reached a 4.0 magnitude on
New Year’s Eve, shaking homes in Youngstown and intensifying nationwide
opposition to fracking, a controversial natural gas extraction process.