It appears that

Republican Gov. John Kasich and the Republican-dominated Ohio Legislature are at it again. These short-sighted politicians are planning to increase the severance taxes on the oil and gas industry and borrow $1.5 billion in new debt.

They are hoping that their rhetoric about jobs and economic growth will keep us distracted from the dangerous risks to our environment, primarily our water. Allowing fracking without strict liability laws (complete responsibility for a company's actions) is insane. Assess the risks for crying out loud!

Even more disturbing is how these representatives are going to use the new taxes that are generated from fracking. Once again, the goal appears to benefit their wealthy buddies.

There are strategic business plans that would allow the new taxes to be leveraged. How about we use the new revenue source to maintain our infrastructure, or provide for the battered school systems, or consider returning to local governments some of the funds that the state has unilaterally ripped away over the last couple of years?

It is time for all elected representatives to either lead, follow, or get out of the way. We need balanced compromise and some checks and balances.

Let's raise our voices and tell these politicians who profess to be knowledgeable business people that a real business plan for the future should include leveraging any new tax revenue sources to get infrastructure, schools, local public safety forces and other essential services back, without additional new taxes on the middle class or politically motivated tax cuts for the wealthy. This would put the state in a competitive position.

It is time to take back Ohio from the partisan politicians and put it back into the hands of the majority of Ohio's working middle class, come the 2014 elections.

Loren Sengstock, Twinsburg