Press Release

OEC praises Kasich for utility tax ripoff veto

Ohio Environmental Council, July 2, 2015

The Ohio Environmental Council is praising Ohio Governor John Kasich for a veto he issued while signing the state’s new two-year operating budget.

Gov. Kasich struck down a controversial provision that could have increased customers’ electric bills. The budget provision would have stuck Ohioan’s with the tab for property taxes assessed on electric generating power plants, which totaled $72 million last year.

Currently, this tax burden is on the owners of those power plants. Typically, though not always, the utility recovers that cost by building it into the price of the power it sells. But, because Ohio has a competitive market for power generation, sometimes that tax is covered by the utility. Shifting this cost onto customers as a fixed charge on their electric bill would have been unfair, and would likely have increased customers’ bills.

The OEC, local government groups, and consumer advocates, including the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, warned that the amendment could have saddled customers with the tax liability. The amendment was inserted at the final Ohio Senate hearing on the budget bill with no public testimony and only scant examination of it.

In his veto message, Gov. Kasich stated, “A larger and more thorough discussion of this issue is needed prior to the enactment of such a comprehensive change, and the administration urges the legislature and stakeholders to work with it to draft a bill to achieve this goal in the fall.”

The veto fulfilled one of six veto requests the OEC had recommended.

“Gov. Kasich wielded his veto pen just in time, saving Bob and Betty Buckeye from a near hit of millions of dollars of taxes. This was a classic instance of un-voted taxation without representation by the citizens’ lawmakers,” said Jack Shaner, OEC Interim Executive Director.