Ohio Steals $15M from O&G Severance Tax Fund for Non-O&G Purpose

The Ohio Controlling Board, part of the Office of Budget and Management, has raided (i.e. stolen) $15 million from Ohio’s severance tax fund to use in settling a lawsuit from the late 1990s–a lawsuit that has nothing whatsoever to do with oil and gas. According to the American Petroleum Institute Ohio, the misappropriation of the money is likely illegal. The Controlling Board was set up by the Ohio legislature to handle “necessary adjustments to the state budget.” In other words, it was set up to pick one pocket and put the money in a different pocket. In 1997 Ohio widened a dam spillway in the western part of the state, and the result flooded the property of some unfortunate landowners, who sued. The lawsuit has languished for years, and it’s now time to pay up. The Controlling Board decided to raid/steal the money from the severance tax fund–a fund that’s supposed to be used for things like plugging abandoned orphan o&g wells. Most drilling in Ohio happens on the eastern side of the state. The flooded property in 1997 happened on the western side of the state. Anyone else see a disconnect and sleazy politics going on here? The severance tax fund has become the personal piggy bank for certain Columbus politicians…

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