Prior to passing House Bill 62 (the Transportation Budget) by a vote of 24-6, the Senate heard the concerns of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and restored parity between the gasoline and diesel fuel tax. The House had previously bifurcated the diesel and gas tax rates, proposing an increase of 10.7 cents on gasoline and an almost-double 20 cents on diesel.
Ohio businesses, whether they rely on shipping or internal truck fleets, faced a dramatic increase in cost if diesel fuel taxes increased by 20 cents. The Ohio Chamber thanks the Senate for understanding the harmful impacts such an increase would have on employers and Ohio’s economic competitiveness.
Unfortunately, however, the Senate also scaled back the total gas tax increase to just six cents, well below the 18 cents Gov. Mike DeWine originally proposed. This is the amount the administration believes is necessary in order to ensure adequate and reliable funding for Ohio’s transportation system. Adequately funding Ohio’s transportation system is a public policy priority of the Ohio Chamber.
Now, HB 62 returns to the House, which must decide whether to accept or reject the Senate’s changes. Almost certainly, the new version of HB 62 will be rejected by the House, an action that will send the bill to a conference committee to work out the differences.
While the governor has not offered an opinion on whether or not the diesel and gasoline rates should be bifurcated, the Ohio Chamber will continue to advocate for a diesel fuel tax increase that stays in parity with the gasoline tax increase as the conference committee deliberates next week.