by J.D. Davidson
Gov. Mike DeWine has proposed raising registration fees and other vehicle fees to fund the Ohio Highway Patrol, but one state representative thinks it’s the wrong time to increase any fees.
Rep. Diane Grendell, R-Chesterland, has introduced amendments that eliminates DeWine’s planned increases from the transportation budget.
“One of the last things we should be proposing within the General Assembly are fee increases,” Grendell said Thursday in a news release. “As the transportation budget is going through a process of changes and amendments so we can all reach a consensus, it is a priority of mine to strike these excessive fees for the benefits of all Ohioans.”
When presenting his budget earlier this month, DeWine applauded the idea of $1 billion in new money while offering no new tax increases. However, he included the registration and title fees to help the Highway Patrol pay for growing security costs at the statehouse and in other areas.
DeWine’s plan calls for a $10 fee increase for passenger and noncommercial vehicles, along with a $10 increase for nonapportioned commercial and apportioned commercial vehicles. It also raised title fees by $2 and added higher registration fees for plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles.
For drivers and vehicle owners, local fees often also are applied to state fees. Currently, vehicle registration brings in more than $450 million.
The governor’s transportation budget, House Bill 74, has been supported by cities, counties, transportation organizations, insurance agents, rural development groups, contractors and groups promoting road and bridge work. It’s had three hearings in the House, with no opposition.
Grendell’s amendments eliminate each of the proposed increases, and she said the state’s plan for increased investment in electric vehicles specifically stops the need for those fees and should spur the growth of more environmentally friendly vehicles.
“At this critical time where people have lost their businesses and jobs, the last thing we need are increases to taxes and fees,” Grendell said.
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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He is regional editor for The Center Square.