By Amy McCullough
Enquirer Columbus Bureau
COLUMBUS - A state lawmaker wants to ease Ohioans' gas pains.
Rep. Timothy Grendell, R-Chesterland, is pushing a bill that would postpone for a year a 2-cent increase in the state gas tax that is scheduled to take effect July 1.
The bill gets its first hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday.
"I know Ohioans are feeling nickeled and dimed to death on taxes," he said. "It may be just 2 cents, but it may be the 2 cents that breaks the camel's back."
The Legislature last year approved an increase in the state gas tax by 6 cents over three years. The first 2-cent increase occurred last July 1.
During the past year, Cincinnati prices for regular unleaded gasoline have climbed 36 cents from about $1.44 a gallon in April 2003 to $1.80 on Wednesday, according to the American Automobile Association.
The price increase is making some Cincinnati-area residents cut back on driving.
"We don't go out as much. We just do school, work and we try to combine our errands," said Dana Jackson, a 28-year-old Bethel resident who was filling up her car at a Shell gas station on Ohio Pike in Withamsville.
Jackson said gas prices are "ridiculous."
"It's hard for the average person to pay for the gas," she said.
Grendell said his proposal was inspired by President Bush, who opposed a proposed federal 5-cent gas tax increase discussed last month.
"If saving a nickel for the feds makes sense, deferring 2 cents for Ohio makes sense," Grendell said.
But the Ohio Department of Transportation disagrees. The 2-cent increase would generate about $126 million and provide about 6,000 construction-related jobs, said Brian Cunningham, ODOT spokesman.
Cunningham said that, although he understands the intent of the bill, the overall cost outweighs any individual benefits.
"Funding will help to generate a great deal more economic opportunities," he said.
The bill proposes only to postpone the taxes. But Cunningham said even that would disrupt construction plans already in the works.
Grendell said he will push the bill even if prices start going back down. But it's not clear whether he will succeed.
House Speaker Larry Householder hasn't taken a stand on the bill. Neither has Sally Conway Kilbane, R-Rocky River, chairwoman of the Ways and Means Committee.
Prices reflect average regular unleaded gas prices per gallon on April 30 this year and last.
|Cincinnati || $1.79|| $1.41.|
|Cleveland || $1.82|| $1.41 |
|Columbus || $1.82|| $1.41 |
|Dayton || $1.82|| $1.42 |
Source: American Automobile Association
SPECIAL REPORT: CHANGING CHURCH
Imagine no priests to celebrate Mass
Stearns & Foster fire pushes crews to the limit
Stearns & Foster employed many in Lockland
Dig for victim's body enters Day 4
Bill would defer gas tax hike
IN THE TRISTATE
Visit has Golden Lamb cooking
Shawnee casino not likely, say legislators
Loud booms used to scatter geese at Cintas
Homework can ease college costs
Ft. Hamilton marks 75 years
3 states consider fighting beetles
Two vehicles hit same tree minutes apart, killing two
Pitch your ideas on waste
Ideas for safer teen driving sought
Young Catholics served by series at local tavern
GOP's Witte leaves House race
Bronson: 3 years after riots, 'experts' still cashing in
Step by step, kids get more active
Caryn Bradshaw taught underprivileged kids
Edward J. Goodman was retired XU professor, author
He has no money, no staff, no experience
Schools use automated calls
Versailles police merger takes effect