COLUMBUS, Ohio - State Senator Joe Schiavoni and State Representative Ron Gerberry, along with lawmakers across the state of Ohio will take their oaths of office in Columbus on Monday.
Representative Gerberry believes the revenue derived from the extraction of oil and gas should increase to match that of other states.
Governor John Kasich wants the severance tax to increase by four percent over the next three years however, the oil and gas industry is against that. In Oklahoma and Texas the severance tax is seven percent or higher.
"Let's look at Texas. Let's look at Oklahoma and get a comparable severance tax. If they can do it, it certainly did not force the oil industry out of Texas and Oklahoma. It will not push the oil industry out of Ohio," Gerberry said.
State Senator Schiavoni agrees and would like to see those dollars go to regions that oil companies are drilling in but the governor has other ideas.
"What he wants to do with the severance tax is give money back to every Ohioan in their income tax," Schiavoni said. "I think it would be better served to put it in the communities where the oil and gas is being removed from so we can build the infrastructure here in Mahoning and Columbiana and Carroll County and all these areas being affected by the oil and gas industry."
The severance tax on oil and gas companies is estimated to bring in $973 million. Representative Gerberry would like to see that money go to help local governments and or mental health, which has been cut drastically over the past two decades.
Both lawmakers say they want to see an increase in education dollars, and more money to tear down blighted homes.
Work on the two-year budget will also begin when lawmakers convene on the 15th the first day of session.