DeWine expected to propose 18-cent increase to Ohio state gas tax

Posted at 6:43 PM, Feb 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 19:02:39-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine will ask the General Assembly to raise the state gas tax by 18 cents per gallon.

According to WCPO news partner the Journal-News officials expect DeWine to propose the tax hike — which would increase the motor fuel user tax from 28 cents per gallon to 46 cents per gallon — during a hearing of the State House Finance Committee Thursday morning at 9 a.m.

DeWine in early February convened an advisory committee on transportation infrastructure, which recommended raising the gas tax to address a looming $1 billion budget deficit for major road and bridge projects over the next decade.

BACKGROUND: Why are Ohio lawmakers considering raising the gas tax?

An 18-cent increase would raise approximately $1.2 billion per year and bring Ohio up to par with most of its neighboring states' gas tax rates. Kentucky is the only Ohio-border state with a lower gas tax rate, at 26 cents per gallon.

It won't be an easy sell for the newly elected governor, and it's been more than a decade since the gas tax increased.

Rep. Jim Butler, R-Oakwood, a member of the House Finance Committee and a high-ranking member of the House GOP caucus told the Journal-News, "I think we need to continue to research the issue, find out what resources are needed to support our infrastructure and consider different approaches to ensuring the resources are provided."

State Sen. Bill Coley, R-West Chester Township, said he'd only support the tax increase if it only applied to non-Ohio residents.

But DeWine said inflation has made the current tax rate untenable, especially as Ohio's massive roadway and bridge network continues to age.

The state legislature has until the end of March to pass a bill that would raise the gas tax.

WCPO news partner The Journal-News' Laura A. Bischoff contributed to this report.