• Severance Tax Counterpoints

    by  • July 21, 2012 • Uncategorized

    A conservative in Ohio has no shortage of union-funded foes, so I try to avoid arguments with friends. But I want to note that I still think the governor’s severance tax proposal is a bad idea.

    For the legion of 3BP readers who have been marching outside 3BP Global Headquarters chanting “WHERE IS JASON?” and for the benefit of anyone just discovering the site, I’ve been critical of the governor’s plan in work for my day job at Media Trackers Ohio. Lest anyone think this is a case of me trying to draw some silly line in the sand, keep in mind the proposal is also opposed by AFP Ohio, the Ohio Liberty Coalition, and the National Taxpayers Union.

    Several weeks of researching this topic have hardly made me an expert on the oil & gas industry, so let’s just look at the logic here: the governor is proposing we raise taxes on a specific industry to fund an income tax cut statewide. That’s the absolute bottom line, when you distill the issue. Is this something conservatives ought to support?

    Big Oil, with Ohio taxpayers innocuously along for the ride

    The governor has alluded to the many aspects of Ohio’s government that remain broken, so why double down on the severance tax proposal when it faces broad opposition? Why not use the power of the bully pulpit to drive repairs to one of those other innumerable broken things?

    Obviously an income tax cut would be great for businesses and individuals, but I’m baffled by the decision to make a small income tax cut paid for by a tax hike on fracking the metaphorical hill to fight on. Needless to say, I resent the implication that any opposition to the plan means opponents are in Big Oil’s pocket.

    The administration assures us that even at the rate the governor proposes, taxes would be outrageously low and wouldn’t deter investment. If that’s the case and the administration knows the exact point where investment will be deterred, why not push the rate higher? After all, the tax revenue is going to be used for a tax cut.

    That’s a big part of my personal opposition: Governor Kasich’s populist don’t-let-the-oil-barons-drink-your-milkshake sales pitch veers into the territory of, as AFP puts it, “picking winners and losers.” Regardless of who’s in office, I’m suspicious of suggestions that we can make Ohio better with revenue-neutral number juggling.

    Completely off-topic, did Blogger make the visual editor worse again? I must be spoiled from using WordPress, because every time I log in to Blogger it seems like the editor has been zapped again with a de-evolution ray.

    …and with that reference to the live-action Mario Bros. movie I’ve mercifully forgotten most of, everyone have a good weekend!

    About