March 7, 2019
To: Members of the Ohio House of Representatives
From: Americans for Tax Reform
I write on behalf of Americans for Tax Reform and our supporters across the state of Ohio to urge you to avoid approving a straight-up gas tax increase as you move forward with the state budget process.
There are many opportunities to improve Ohio’s tax and regulatory climate, like pursuing reductions in income tax rates, it’s important to first do no harm. As such, I urge that you reject the aggressive, but misguided push to hike the state gas tax.
A gas tax hike does the greatest harm to households who can least afford it.
Coupled with gas tax prices that have been creeping up in Ohio, a gas tax hike would have especially adverse effects on the state’s lower income earners. The 2003 gas tax increase failed to meet revenue projections.
Also consider that a state gas tax increase would counteract the benefits of federal tax reform and eat into Ohio taxpayers’ federal tax cut savings. This is one of the reasons why Congress has declined to raise the federal gas tax, despite pressure for them to do so.
According to Strategas Research Partners, 60% of the federal income tax cut would be wiped out by a $0.25 gas tax increase and rising prices.
In addition to being bad policy, a gas tax increase is bad politics. Ballot measures to hike state gas taxes were resoundingly rejected in Missouri, Utah, and Washington State just last year. Between that and the throngs of French citizens now protesting President Emmanuel Macron’s gas tax hike, which he just suspended, it’s clear that gas tax hikes are a political loser, both at home and abroad.
A significant gas tax increase is also being proposed in Minnesota, by a new Democrat Governor, with a Democrat-controlled House. Ohio’s Republican-led government can definitely do better.
We thank you for your past, and continued efforts on reforms that enhance the liberty of Ohioans and their opportunities for success, like licensing reform, criminal justice reform, tax relief, and regulatory reform. We trust a better option than a straight-up gas tax increase will be found.
If you have any questions or if ATR can be of assistance, don’t hesitate to contact me or Doug Kellogg ATR State Projects Director, at [email protected] or 202-785-0266.
Grover G. Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform