Gas Tax increase - Stop wasting infrastructure funds first

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Governor DeWine is proposing an 18-cent increase to the Ohio gas tax.   I might be for it if he were doing it to discourage the use of petroleum products.  He tells us it is to help fund infrastructure projects such as roads.  If this is the case then I advocate for the State to encourage local communities not to waste infrastructure dollars on recreational facilities before they trying to increase this tax.

As an example, look at Huber Heights.  We have spent over $32 million of infrastructure money to build an aquatic center and music center.  Supposing this money is financed over twenty years, it will take about $2 million a year to make principle and interest payments on these loans.  This is almost double the amount of additional funds the Governor proposes to give the city after the tax increase.

Before asking residents to cough up additional taxes in order to make up for funds that have been misspent, the legislature should prevent local governments from diverting infrastructure money to pay for recreational facilities.   The Governor should make local governments conform to spending infrastructure money on projects that resemble the examples given within the law. 

Here are the examples given in ORC 5709.40 of Public Infrastructure Projects:

(8) "Public infrastructure improvement" includes, but is not limited to, public roads and highways; water and sewer lines; the continued maintenance of those public roads and highways and water and sewer lines; environmental remediation; land acquisition, including acquisition in aid of industry, commerce, distribution, or research; demolition, including demolition on private property when determined to be necessary for economic development purposes; stormwater and flood remediation projects, including such projects on private property when determined to be necessary for public health, safety, and welfare; the provision of gas, electric, and communications service facilities, including the provision of gas or electric service facilities owned by nongovernmental entities when such improvements are determined to be necessary for economic development purposes; and the enhancement of public waterways through improvements that allow for greater public access.

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/5709.40

 

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