COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Mayors from across the state came together in the capital city to offer their support for Governor Mike DeWine’s proposed gas tax increase.
About 20 of Ohio’s mayors called for lawmakers to get “closer” to DeWine’s full 18-cent per gallon tax increase, saying it will help cities and townships.
The Ohio Mayors Alliance says the House’s 10.7-cent gas tax increase and the Senate six-cent gas tax increase just won’t cut it.
“We are urging legislative leaders to get close to Gov. Mike DeWine’s original proposal of 18-cents as possible,” said Kettering Mayor, Don Patterson.
Patterson says lawmakers need to stop operating on the previous administration’s narrative and start working with local leaders. This group of bipartisan local elected officials agrees.
“The new tone that Gov. DeWine has set is encouraging to all of us,” said Dayton Mayor, Nan Whaley.
DeWine’s proposal would yield more than $1.1-billion dollars in the next fiscal year, with an increase of 72 percent going towards local governments.
The House and Senate passed budgets would hike local government share if gas monies between 26 and 28 percent.
Grove City Mayor Ike Stage says the additional dollars are needed for maintenance.
“We do a three-year plan as to what is happening to our streets and right now we should be spending $3.5-million a year just to maintain the status quo,” says Stage.
A new poll released Tuesday by Baldwin Wallace University suggests a majority of Ohioans are not in support of the governor’s proposed gas tax increase. With 55-percent strongly opposing and 29-percent in support.
“If the public isn’t interested in the 18-cents then we have to find something where we can do the improvements we need on our infrastructure,” says Patterson. “Six-cents doesn’t work. Six-cents puts a bandaid on a pothole.”
Columbus Governor Andrew Ginther was not present at Tuesday’s press conference, but he did say earlier this month that he supports the governor’s proposal. Columbus would receive $19-million the first year.
Lawmakers have a March 31st deadline.