It has been called to our attention that Gov. Kasich is proposing a severance tax on oil and gas companies developing the Utica shale formation in Eastern Ohio.
As a resident of this area, as well as a small business owner, I have seen this area as a strong economic region producing steel and related products, and coal for our electric generating facilities. The steel industry is all but gone and the coal jobs are dwindling as more and more coal-fired plants are closed due to EPA regulations.
Due to the loss of jobs in Eastern Ohio, we have seen many of our young people move out of this area and our general population become older. Many store fronts are boarded up and small businesses have closed or moved elsewhere. Add to that property values are falling, schools are struggling and local governments are eliminating services such as police and fire protections and even street lighting. It is very uplifting to see an industry that will provide needed jobs, tax revenues for local municipalities, and opportunities for landowners to finally see some value for their land.
Hopefully, Ohio’s future looks bright with the development of Ohio’s oil and gas reserves. Let’s let this industry develop and expand before restricting it with taxes and other government intrusion. Eastern Ohio, Ohio and America need the jobs and resources it will provide.
Jerry C. Gasber