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Survey shows support for higher Ohio severance tax is slipping

By Bob Downing Published: December 14, 2012

From the Marcellus Drilling News:

A new Quinnipiac University Poll shows a majority of Ohioans continue to support a higher severance tax (what they term a “new tax” when asking the question) on the shale drilling industry—especially if it would cut their income taxes. But the simple headline does not reveal the whole picture.

When you look at the internals of the poll (full copy of the questions and results is embedded below), you find that (a) support for the tax is slipping, and (b) it’s Ohio Democrats who support the tax in large numbers, while Republicans only tip to the support side when it comes to the question of lowering income taxes.

 

Here’s the summary of the results as given by Quinnipiac:

Voters support 52 – 38 percent a proposed new tax on companies drilling for oil and natural gas in the state, little changed from 55 – 35 percent support when the independent Quinnipiac University asked the question in May.

If money from such a tax were used to cut income taxes for state residents, support for the levy rises to 62 – 31 percent, similar to May’s 60 – 32 percent finding. Republican voters, who oppose the new tax 56 – 33 percent, shift to support it 52 – 40 percent when it is used to offset income taxes.

“Ohio voters support the idea of taxing the state’s oil and gas producers, especially if the money would go to cutting income taxes for state residents. On these questions, too, there is widespread agreement,” Brown added. “Only Republicans don’t give at least a plurality support to the idea generally and even they, back the idea if the money raised went to cutting state income taxes.”*

Notice the internals below. Although 52% of Ohioans collectively support a higher tax (with 38% opposed), Republicans’ support of the higher tax is only 33%, while 56% of Republicans oppose it. Democrats favor the higher tax by 63% and oppose it by 28%. Those with a college education favor a higher tax (59% support) vs. those without a college education (49% support)—proving conclusively that a college education does not make you any smarter. In fact, it may make you dumber—at least when it comes to economics.

Overall support for a higher tax has gone down since May (55% supported it in May, 52% support is now), and opposition has gone up (35% opposed it in May, 38% now). Perhaps there is a sliver of hope?

*Quinnipiac University (Dec 12, 2012) – Ohio Voters Reject Change In Judge Selection 5-1, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Want Smarter Spending, Not More For Schools

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Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.