Ohio drilling industry gathers amid tax fight

JULIE CARR SMYTH Associated Press Published:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Hundreds of representatives of Ohio's growing shale gas industry are gathering in Columbus in one of their biggest meetings of the year.

The 3,200-member Ohio Oil and Gas Association winter meeting Thursday comes as the industry is fighting Republican Gov. John Kasich's (KAY'-sik's) proposed tax increase on large-scale oil and gas extraction.

Kasich says Ohio's severance tax rate is among the lowest in the country. He has incorporated an increase into a tax policy overhaul that includes cuts to income, small-business and sales taxes, while expanding the sales tax to more services.

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel (man-DEHL') will open an afternoon business meeting. He will be followed by a legislative panel featuring Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder and a policy update by Tom Stewart, the association's executive vice president.