Blog Posts For The Week Of December 4, 2013 Through December 10, 2013
Posted: December, 10 2013 6:37 PM
"When my wife Jan-Michele and I purchased the Cincinnati Herald we knew it would be a challenge. The media business was changing rapidly, and newspapers—both large and small—were struggling to adapt and remain profitable. But we were dedicated to keeping alive one of our nation’s oldest African-American newspapers and committed to our employees and their families.
Given the challenges the Herald faced, other small business owners might have walked away. But, we never considered closing our business because it would have meant shutting down a respected community newspaper dating back to the Civil Rights era, and putting people out of work.
When I became a State Senator in 2005, I stepped away from the day-to-day operations of the newspaper to focus on representing my hometown in the Ohio Senate. I have devoted my time in the Senate to improving children’s health, ensuring fair elections, and growing our state’s economy. Among the pieces of legislation that I was able to pass was a bill setting up a loan program that grants financial assistance to families wanting to adopt.
During my tenure as Minority Leader, I worked across the aisle with former Senate President Tom Niehaus to enact reforms to stabilize and strengthen Ohio’s public pension systems. It wasn’t easy, but it shows what can be accomplished if you take a thoughtful and bipartisan approach to solving problems and treat people with respect.
Last month I accepted an opportunity to run for Lieutenant Governor because I believe this state is headed in the wrong direction. Ohio’s unemployment rate is rising, voting rights are threatened, and our schools and local communities don’t have the resources they need.
As questions arose about the financial challenges facing our newspaper business I wanted to set the record straight. That’s why I provided hundreds of documents and answered questions from reporters from across the state. This was all done to let the facts be known and to ensure complete transparency. I am convinced our business is on a path to resolving these issues in the near future and the facts support that conclusion.
With that being said, it’s undeniable that this has come to be a distraction from a discussion of the vital issues facing Ohio, and the choice voters must make in this election. The stakes are too high: we need a change of leadership to move Ohio in a new direction that puts more Ohioans back to work and builds a better future for our children.
I have discussed this with Ed FitzGerald, and while I will always be grateful for him selecting me to be his running mate, we agree that the best course of action is for me to step aside from the campaign for Lieutenant Governor and focus on serving the people of the Ninth Senate district."
Posted: December, 4 2013 4:36 PM
Today, Rep. Matt Huffman and Speaker William Batchelder introduced a comprehensive oil and gas tax reform package that is rational, substantive and good for Ohio. For these reasons, the state’s oil and gas industry supports it.
The package, which includes a sensible modification of the severance tax based on actual well economics, would enhance the state’s regulatory framework, increase funding for the Ohio Geological Survey and address the lingering environmental issue of plugging idle and orphan wells from historical production.
If passed, the package would also provide much needed clarity for oil and gas producers who have already invested heavily and plan to invest billions more to explore the state’s Utica Shale formation. The ongoing debate about increasing the severance tax has created an air of uncertainty within the industry. Resolving this issue will allow oil and gas development to flourish in eastern Ohio, which will expand economic opportunity and job growth throughout the state.
Additionally, the tax reform package would lower taxes for conventional oil and gas producers and eliminate the threat of higher taxes for the state’s thousands of royalty owners and landowners, which was a major point of contention with the previous tax proposal. The package also earmarks excess revenue for a reduction in the personal income tax for all Ohioans.
This tax reform package is based on sound regulatory, environmental and economic policymaking that will allow all of Ohio to benefit from a robust oil and gas industry.
Posted: December, 4 2013 4:13 PM
COLUMBUS—Today, Speaker of the Ohio House William G. Batchelder (R-Medina), Speaker Pro Tempore Matt Huffman (R-Lima), and other members of the House Republican Caucus introduced legislation to enhance Ohio’s oil and gas regulatory program, a proposal that strives to promote economic development, address environmental concerns, and lower taxes on Ohioans and businesses.
Speaker Pro Tempore Huffman, who sponsored House Bill 375, released the following statement on the introduction of the legislation:
“House Bill 375 moves Ohio in the right direction as we responsibly explore our energy options right here in our state. It encourages job creation, benefits Ohio’s taxpayers, and prioritizes environmental issues, which puts us in the best possible position to take a fair and balanced approach to domestic energy exploration. This is a pragmatic, rational approach that will benefit all Ohioans.”
Speaker Batchelder, a cosponsor of the legislation, released the following statement:
“This tax reform proposal is a comprehensive, carefully constructed piece of legislation that incorporates many important aspects of oil and gas exploration in Ohio. As Ohio moves toward a significant energy-based economy, House Bill 375 will not only provide much-needed clarity about severance taxes and regulations, but also take significant steps to protect the environment and ensure that energy exploration in Ohio is safe and responsible. While I did not support previous proposals to institute a severance tax on the oil and gas industry, I believe that this legislation accomplishes many of the goals that needed to be addressed and can give Ohioans confidence in the process.”