Ohio House Democratic lawmakers today announced they will push for a better state transportation budget that brings more taxpayers dollars home to local communities throughout the state.
The priorities members are considering for House Bill (HB) 62, the state’s two-year transportation budget, include lowering the Republican proposed gas tax hike, phasing in any gas tax increases, increasing local public transit, and directing more resources to local communities instead of state agencies in Columbus.
“A strong transportation plan means a stronger economic future for the people of our state,” said House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). “It’s clear Republicans are planning to raise the gas tax, so we need to be strategic about directing more resources back home for working people, small businesses and families. Taxpayers want their money to work for them, not some state agency in Columbus.”
Democratic lawmakers have been cautious about Republican plans to raise gas taxes, saying working people, small businesses and families have already felt squeezed over the last decade due to unfair state tax changes that make them pay more so millionaires and billionaires pay less.
State budget cuts have also forced local communities to put off needed infrastructure improvements and in some cases have forced communities to ask residents for tax increases to fund essential services.
“We have the responsibility to ensure our roads and bridges are in good shape, but we also need to balance that need with the bottom-line realities facing Ohio’s working families,” said Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), the Ranking Democrat on the House panel hearing testimony on HB 62. “We need a better transportation plan that will work for our communities and actual people – not just a state department’s budget or bottom line.”
HB 62 currently sits before the House Finance Committee and could be voted on as soon as next Wednesday.