COLUMBUS, Ohio– In a statement made via a Facebook Video, Columbus, Ohio’s Democratic Mayor Andrew J. Ginther announced that he is backing DeWine’s 18 cent gas tax hike. The mayor said he is backing the bill because:
It will help us increase our funding for infrastructure in Columbus neighborhoods by 19 million a year. We think that’s worthwhile because we know infrastructure is really about people; opening up jobs and opportunities for others in the community to share in our prosperity.
House Bill 62 (HB 62), which would create the transportation budget for the 2020-2021 biennium, includes the 18 cent gas tax increase and is currently being reviewed by the House Finance Committee. Governor DeWine made the case Tuesday in his State of the State Address for the necessity of the bill, stating:
Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the General Assembly—our families should not be
driving on roads that are crumbling and bridges that are failing. I appeal to you—as legislators, as fathers and mothers, as sons and daughters—help us fix this! The state has avoided its responsibility for too long—and now is the time to act.
As previously reported, 30 percent of all roads are in “poor or mediocre condition.” DeWine dedicated almost half of his hour-long address to advocating for the tax increase, listing in stark rhetoric the dangerous state of roads and bridges in the Buckeye State. While there is broad consensus that something must be done to address the issue, opinion leaders and legislators are divided on several points in the bill.
The tax hike has drawn significant controversy, most notably from within the ranks of DeWine’s own party. The hike would go into effect immediately, as opposed to being phased in over several years. In addition, it would peg the gas tax to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which could potentially see the tax increase every year, but there is no provision that would decrease it, should the CPI decrease.
Mayor Ginther made his statement before attending a public meeting with the mayor of Grandview Heights, the mayor of Bexley, several union leaders, and Columbus Urban League CEO Stephanie A. Hightower. Each of these individuals supports the Republican governor in his plan. At the meeting, Mayor Ginter further underscored his support.
“It’s going to be a significant job creator, neighborhood-enhancer and improve the quality of life for the people of our neighborhoods,” he said.
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