This past week brought the news that Ohio Gov. John Kasich will this week unveil a plan to assess a new tax on shale gas drilling (see this MDN story). Unlike Pennsylvania’s recently passed tax (oops, impact fee) where 60 percent stays in the local community to offset the effects of where drilling actually happens and “only” 40 percent goes to Harrisburg for politicians to play with, it appears that 100 percent of this new Ohio tax will go to the general revenue fund so that Kasich can give all residents an Ohio state income tax cut.
MDN has been accused of having Tea Party views when it comes to taxes. Guilty as charged. As we pointed out in a second story this week, the Ohio Oil and Gas Association also agrees with MDN’s view that the proposed new tax essentially “spreads the wealth” unfairly from those who own the resource (landowners) and those who work hard to produce it (drillers) to those who have had nothing to do with it. But, it seems, such is the world we’ve come to live in. What’s yours is mine and if you don’t like it, well, we’ll elect people who will forcibly take it from you and give it to me! Welcome to Ameritopia where we’re born free and then taxed to death.
But MDN wonders, is this the price we must pay to develop this natural resource? Do we have to “buy off” the population at large? Would such a strategy work in New York too? If you take a certain percentage of the proceeds from drilling and just hand it out, as Alaska does with oil tax money to its citizens—would that change public opinion toward shale oil and gas drilling? The sad truth is, it might well.
So this week we ask you the question, what do you think? Is it OK to tax shale drilling and share the proceeds with everyone via a personal income tax cut? It will be interesting to see what MDN readers think.
Last Week’s Poll Results
Last week MDN asked a question to find out if you personally know people in the shale drilling industry—or if you work in the industry yourself. By a hefty 3 to 2 margin the answer is “yes” you do personally know people working in the industry.
Do you or someone you know (family member, friend, acquaintance) work in the shale gas industry?
Yes (64%, 138 Votes)
No (36%, 77 Votes)
Total Voters: 215
Below are the most recent “top 5” lists and the calendar of Marcellus-related events for the next two weeks.
Happy “spring forward”,
Jim Willis, Editor