Kasich undaunted as he includes another call for an increased oil and gas severance tax in budget

Posted at 7:15 AM, Feb 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-01 07:15:42-05

Much like cartoon legend Charlie Brown approached the Lucy held football with full knowledge it would likely be yanked away, Ohio Governor John Kasich once again called in his budget for an increased severance tax on natural gas and oil production knowing it would likely be pulled as it has been numerous times since 2012 by the legislature before the budget reaches his desk again in June.

Kasich's argument for raising the tax, which is among the lowest in the nation, has always been the same.

"Our value is being depleted," Kasich said after including it in his 2015 budget. "Every day they pull stuff out of the ground and leave, we're less wealthy. I don't know why people don't understand they ought to pay for that if they make us less wealthy they ought to pay us for that."

"We want the jobs, we don't want to damage the industry but every Ohioan has to benefit because if we don't benefit in Ohio there shareholders and investors, boards of directors, officers of the company, they're the ones that are going to get all of the benefit."

His biggest obstacle has been his own Republican legislature which has repeatedly sided with the oil and gas industry that has also become one of the state's largest political contributors. The industry successfully arguing that raising taxes would likely force companies and the jobs they create to pull out of Ohio.

Kasich's been in this uphill situation before pointing to his years in Congress when he presented to his colleagues his first balanced budget, it would go down in a 405 to 30 vote with Kasich recalling four or five those votes actually coming from his Democratic friends.  

"They didn't want me to be totally embarrassed," he recalled.

He of course would get more votes the next year and more the next and eventually get a balanced budget passed. That taught him a lesson he has applied to his time as governor. "I don't always say success is because you pass it, sometimes in life you have to propose things that take a long time to find it's way into law."

And so it should have come as no surprise that Kasich called for increasing the severance tax to 6.5 percent in his $67 billion budget, hoping this his last budget would be the one to include the increase in his final spending plan.

"We'll see, hope springs eternal," Kasich said in 2015 quoting poet Alexander Pope, who incidentally is the same man who penned the phrase "fools rush in."