Back in July, when Kasich first announced his proposal to raise the severance tax on oil and gas, the governor faced questions from Ohio’s farmers and landowners who were concerned they would end up footing the bill for a tax that was intended to be paid by big oil companies.
Kasich didn’t do much to quell their fears, instead insulting them, and Public Radio’s Bill Cohen, by claiming only those landowners “smart” enough to foresee his tax increase, and to include an appropriate clause in their lease with the gas companies, deserved to avoid it.
Kasich needs the Farm Bureau’s support for this plan, but the traditionally Republican organization has so far refused get on board.
So this week Kasich took a second swing at their support, appearing at an event where he took questions from Farm Bureau members. You’d think Kasich would have learned from his first experience, and come up with a better answer, but as Harrison County Farm Bureau President Jayne Wallace gently lobbed a softball over the plate, Kasich decided to ignore the opportunity to redeem himself and instead stuck to his original game plan: stepping in front of the pitch and letting it hit him in the nuts.
Wallace asked the governor if he’d also be placing “a severance tax on windmills” and stated she felt “penalized for owning that property that happens to have oil and gas under it”.
After impatiently listening to the question, and anxiously nodding and rocking back and forth with his hands in his pockets, Kasich finally interrupted and offered a condescending reply that included: “Now, ma’am, I don’t know what your situation is, but if you have it on your land, and you negotiated a bad deal with the oil companies and you have to pick up the severance tax, I mean, I wouldn’t have done it that way if I were you.”
In other words: It’s not my fault you were too stupid to negotiate a better contract. Now prepare to suffer the wrath of my severance tax!
Kasich continues “frankly I’m for Ohio small business more than I am for Big Oil”. But some in that room full of small business owners clearly seemed unconvinced of the governor’s sincerity.
As long as we’re talking frankly here, I tend to agree with Kasich on many of the points he made. Ohio’s oil and gas reserves are a diminishing resource. And if the state is going to accept the risks associated with expanded exploration and production, then the big oil companies should be paying more. But, as we’ve come to expect, Kasich seems willing to force through his “big ideas” without ever considering the consequences.
John Kasich decided the only way he’s going to win reelection is to brand himself as the guy who cut income taxes. He also decided that the only way to fund it is to raise the oil and gas severance tax, and if some farmers and landowners get screwed in process then so be it.
The Farm Bureau has already come out against Kasich’s plan to lease the turnpike. His severance tax proposal, in its current form, seems doomed for the same fate.
Some more-shaky-than-normal video of the event is available on Marc Kovac’s Ohio Capital Blog, including the portion mentioned in this post, which is included below.
(HT MediaTrackers for bringing this story to our attention)