Small business owners are salivating at the prospect Ohio might raise up to $1 billion over five years by hiking taxes on natural gas liquids drillers and using the revenue to pay for a general income tax cut.
The Columbus Dispatch and the Cleveland Plain Dealer are reporting Governor John Kasich is working on the idea.
Business lobbyist Roger Geiger says he wouldn't want a tax hike so onerous, it would put a halt to drilling. But if a reasonable tax increase were enacted, he says, the tax cut that would then become affordable would be a welcome relief for small firms that pay their business taxes through the income tax.
Ohio drillers though are opposing Kasich's idea. They say there's no need to hike the tax rate on them because such a big drilling boom is looming, the current tax system will bring in millions of extra dollars for government.
"Don't raise the tax rate," an industry lobbyist warns. "Or you will discourage drillers from moving here."
"Nonsense," says a political think tank on the Left. Innovation Ohio calls Kasich's proposed tax hike on energy way too small. The group wants a bigger tax hike on drillers and says the revenue should be used to soften spending cuts imposed on schools and cities instead of being used to finance another income tax cut.