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Despite support from House Leadership, local communities are not thrilled with this proposal. County engineers, township trustees, mayors, environmentalists, county commissioners, economic development organizations, research groups, and others came to testify on the needs of local communities impacted by increased hydraulic fracturing (Fracking). Witnesses continue to call on oil and gas drilling corporations to pay their fair share.
Witnesses highlighted that the increased costs for water and sewage infrastructure, road maintenance and other local services outpace any new local revenue generated by the industry. One witness pointed out that increased motor fuel sales tax and sales tax primarily goes to the state, with the local community seeing little increased revenue. Local officials continue to remind the state legislature about massive cuts over the past 3 years to the revenue sharing programs such as the local government fund.
Witnesses want a fair severance tax rate that will help to build up the region. Local officials and advocates want long-term investments into environmental sustainability, regulation, and infrastructure investments – including roads, water and sewage, and high speed internet. Another common theme among witnesses called for the investment of resources into townships, cities, and counties that are most impacted by the oil and gas boom.
Currently, the Ohio legislature has two severance tax proposals. HB 212 would send money to local communities and invest in a long-term economic sustainability fund. HB 375 does not do either of these.