Tue., 10:36am: Ohio House panel plans vote on drilling tax hike

COLUMBUS – An Ohio House panel is preparing to vote on legislation raising Ohio’s tax on large oil-and-gas drillers in a compromise that returns more of the proceeds to local governments.

The bill before the Ways & Means Committee Tuesday imposes a 2.5-percent gross receipts tax on operations with significant volume, including those conducting hydraulic fracturing in shale-gas rich eastern Ohio.

The House panel is expected to amend the bill to reserve 20 percent of tax proceeds, after the first $21 million, for communities – up from the 15 percent proposed earlier.

Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich has long pushed a drilling-tax hike as a way to offset modest statewide income-tax reductions he’s proposed. The drilling industry brought revisions to Kasich’s plan to the House.