Yesterday the Ohio House has passed the newly proposed gas tax increase that has been looming over the state of Ohio. The approval is a part of a transportation budget bill that will increase the state’s gas and diesel taxes to aid in the maintenance of roads and bridges.
The transportation budget bill passed in the House with a vote of 71-27 and will now head to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.
The bill proposes to increase the gas tax by 10.7 cents per gallon over two years and the diesel tax by 20 cents per gallon over three years. If implemented, the tax hike will take effect October 1, 2019.
Upon approval of the bill, Republican Governor Mike DeWine took time to thank lawmakers for taking swift action to approve the budget. DeWine proposed increasing the current 28-cents-per-gallon tax by 18 cents a gallon. According to him, the House bill’s tax increase isn’t enough for the repairs and construction that is needed throughout the state.
The legislation has the potential to provide public transit with $100 million a year in federal transportation funds if approved. The tax increases will also raise local revenue to approximately $390 million per year.
These changes will also affect owners of electric vehicles. Electric vehicle owners will face charges of $200, while hybrid vehicle owners will be charged $100 yearly in registration fees in order to contribute to Ohio’s transportation improvements.
The bill did not go forth without many opposing views as well. Representative Niraj Antani released a statement:
“I voted against this tax increase because my constituents elected me to represent their best interests, not to help take money out of their pockets. With wages stagnant and people working hard at 2 jobs to make ends meet, people across Ohio should not have to give up more of their paychecks. A factory worker, teacher, or single mother does not need a tax increase that makes it more expensive to get to work or pick up their kids from school. I signed a pledge to taxpayers to vote against all tax increases and today I fulfilled my pledge. We should be cutting taxes, not raising them. While funding the repair of roads and bridges is important, we should dedicate general revenue fund dollars to it instead of raising taxes.”
State Representative Allison Russo, a Democrat of Upper Arlington, voiced her point of view of the negotiations that took place. She is looking forward to the transportation budget moving on to the Senate for consideration.
“I’m glad that we were able to negotiate a phase-in period and a lower tax rate than what the governor proposed, while also securing more money for our districts. I think that it is important as we continue into broader budget discussions to find meaningful ways to offset the cost of this tax for everyday Ohioans.”
“This bill is a good start,” Russo continued. “Our roads, bridges, and public transit desperately need increased investment from the state, as evidenced by the wide-ranging coalition of mayors, local governments, and public/private partnerships supporting the transportation budget. When the final bill is put before the chamber, I will insist on these important wins for the people of Ohio.”