A top lobbyist for Ohio's oil and gas drilling industry is urging state lawmakers to support a package of tax revisions advanced as an alternative to an earlier plan by Republican Governor John Kasich.
At a committee hearing Wednesday, Ohio Oil and Gas Association vice president Tom Stewart supported a bill introduced last month. It would raise the severance tax rate on horizontally drilled wells by 1 percent, then 2 percent, while rolling back similar taxes on traditional wells. The plan exempts drilling companies subject to the new tax from Ohio's main business tax, called the Commercial Activity Tax. Stewart says the new proposal is constructed to encourage gas exploration, environmental protection and regulatory reform without scaring off drillers. Critics say Ohio's drilling taxes are too low.