From the daily archives: Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A revealing email, obtained by Plunderbund, demonstrates the political calculus that took place when House GOP leaders considered plans to raise Ohio’s severance taxes on oil & gas drillers in advance of an expected fracking boom.

On January 22, Lou Blessing, Speaker pro tempore of the Ohio House of Representatives, emailed his GOP colleagues with his thoughts on a possible increase in the tax–something that Governor Kasich was rumored to be considering. In his email, he compares Ohio’s taxes to other states, stating “Ohio is on the very low side” and puts forth two scenarios for raising it, in the following […]

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When Governor Kasich rolled out his energy plan in March, he portrayed himself as a maverick on fracking, standing up to Big Oil by requiring more chemical disclosure, higher tax rates and assistance to local governments.

Thanks in part to documents obtained exclusively by Plunderbund, we now know it was all posturing. Let’s review:

The chemical disclosure requirements he introduced were riddled with loopholes and allowed companies to hold information back if they deemed it a “trade secret.”

His severance tax increase was actually a tax cut on natural gas, the only material currently being extracted […]

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As Ohio’s legislature prepares to quietly pass legislation that legally allows the Highway Patrol to operate at the newly privatized prison in Conneaut, Ohio, the bigger story that has generally gone unreported (except by Plunderbund, of course) is the multitude of ways in which the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s legal department has attempted to circumvent existing law.

According to records obtained by Plunderbund, James Canepa, Chief Legal Counsel at Ohio Department of Public Safety, ignored two opinions issued by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission (OLSC) when he pursued an agreement with the City of Conneaut to have the Highway […]

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