Don’t let tax on drilling cause burden

From the first time he proposed it, Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s plan to increase taxes on the oil and gas drilling industries was controversial. Opponents worried, with some cause, that the governor’s plan would prompt drillers to move their rigs to other states.

Kasich insists that will not happen. He continues to push for enactment of his proposal, in order to raise money to grant Ohioans a general break on their state income taxes.

Now, Kasich is adding a sweetener to the plan to get East Ohio legislators, who represent the area impacted most by drilling, on board. If lawmakers approve the tax increase on drillers, one-fourth of the proceeds would go to East Ohio counties, the governor has said.

Some lawmakers remain concerned about the idea. Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, has said he wants to study the governor’s proposal more before deciding whether it should be enacted.

Gentile and others with reservations are right to go slowly on the plan.

Indeed, it could pump much-needed revenue into local governments. But it remains prudent to worry about whether the tax increase would slow the economic boom some counties are enjoying because of drilling. Only if that can be prevented should the proposal be approved.