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Commissioners lobby for more tax money on oil and gas

Updated: Thursday, May 8 2014, 05:55 PM EDT

WTOV9.com
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio -- Jefferson County Commissioners are lobbying the state for more money from the oil and gas industry to be returned to the area in the form of a Severance tax.
The Severence tax being discussed as House Bill 315 would return 15 percent back to the counties. Officials in Jefferson County believe that's simply not enough.
A resolution passed Thursday will lobby state leaders to return more money back to the areas that are producing those resources.  
For a well producing gas or oil, a Severance tax would be placed on 2.5 percent of the money from the product that comes out of the ground.
So let's say that tax produces $1 million.
$800,000 would go to personal income tax reduction      
$50,000 to ODNR's abandoned well program
$150,000 would go to counties, cities, and townships
“By the time that money is divided between the county, village, city and townships, that 15 percent really trickles down to nickels and dimes for townships,” said Terry Bell of the Jefferson County Township Association. “The townships are where all of the drilling is taking place, so they should get the larger chunk of money.”
Commissioners also believe that if changes are made to the tax, it should be weighted to favor areas of production.
That's why they signed a resolution with hopes of making the state aware of their position on the bill.
“ Whether it's 15 (percent) 75 (percent) or somewhere in between, the idea is to make sure that the affected communities get the greater part of that revenue to address some of those costs that are going to be associated with the industry,” Jefferson County Commissioner Dave Maple said.
They say of the 88 counties in the state, the biggest boom for gas and oil is being felt locally.
To them, it doesn't seem right to spread the tax out and potentially harm the counties where the industry is located.     
“It's starting to get to where it's maybe seven or eight affected counties, maybe a little bit more than that.” Maple said. “That makes it even more important to make our position clear that we want to see those revenues weighted in our area.”
House Bill 315 is the House Committee on Ways & Means.
Commissioners wouldn't speculate as to  how much they believe it may change before it is passed, but other counties in the area also in favor of increased revenues.

Commissioners lobby for more tax money on oil and gas


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