Cera Questions Kasich Administration On Using Severance Tax Revenue To Balance State Budget
Says excess revenue should be returned to eastern Ohio communities impacted by shale drilling
June 23, 2017
 
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During the first meeting of the budget conference committee Thursday, Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) questioned Budget Director Tim Keen on the amount of revenue generated by the state severance tax on oil and gas, arguing that any excess revenue should be redirected to the Eastern Ohio communities most impacted by the oil and gas industry.  


In response to a question from Rep. Cera, Director Keen indicated that the severance tax is generating millions of dollars more than is needed to run the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ regulatory program, but that the Kasich administration proposes to use the excess shale revenue to help fill the hole in the state budget instead of helping eastern Ohio. 


“It’s bad enough that this budget shortchanges eastern Ohio’s schools and local governments and does nothing to create new, good-paying jobs – now they are going to steal eastern Ohio’s severance money too,” Cera stated. “The governor and the Republican legislature needs to recognize that these severance tax dollars come from our natural resources and out of the pockets of hardworking taxpayers in eastern Ohio.” 


The Bellaire lawmaker has long-maintained that eastern Ohio is long overdue in reaping the financial rewards from the dollars generated by the industry to help with the impact on roads and to invest in water and sewer infrastructure, first responders and other services. 


Rep. Cera has partnered with Rep. Brian Hill (R- Zanesville) to sponsor bipartisan legislation to return severance revenue to the shale area without raising taxes. Cera also offered a similar amendment to the budget during deliberations in the House, but it was rejected along largely party lines.


“I am concerned that people running the show in Columbus often don’t care about our area, but that won’t stop me from continuing to advocate for shale communities,” Cera added. “Ohio is the only state that doesn’t assist local communities that have oil and gas production with funds to deal with the impact of the industry. Our region is facing real challenges and people in Columbus seem clueless.” 


The budget conference committee will reconvene on Monday and Rep. Cera will again fight to convince his fellow legislators to provide funding to the shale area. 

 
 
 
  
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