With fuel prices in Ohio exceeding
$1.70 a gallon, a state lawmaker has introduced legislation to postpone for a
year a 2-cent-per-gallon increase in the state motor vehicle fuel tax.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Tim
Grendell, R-Chesterland, also would permit county auditors to test the quality
of fuel sold in their counties, a power they do not have, the Dayton Daily
Bob Taft opposes postponing the scheduled fuel tax increase, to take effect
July 1, “because we need the money to fund the jobs and progress plan which is
rebuilding highways across the state,” Orest Holubec, Taft’s spokesman, said.
told the newspaper his proposal – HB458 – was “inspired by” President Bush, who
has opposed increasing the 18.4-cent-per-gallon federal fuel tax. Grendell said
the “average Ohioan is getting nickled and dimed to death” with tax increases.
state fuel tax is 24 cents per gallon. Last year, Taft signed a highway
construction bill that increased the fuel tax by up to 6 cents over three
years. The first 2-cent increase took effect July 1, 2003. The final 2-cent
increase, scheduled for July 1, 2005, would be suspended if Ohio’s return on
the federal fuel taxes sent to Washington increased from 89 cents to 95 cents
on the dollar and funding penalties for the state’s heavy use of ethanol were
Grendell’s bill also would create a fuel price oversight
committee to review fuel pricing practices and the availability of alternative