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With the end of the current fiscal year one month away, the Ohio House and Senate continue working to finalize a new budget that avoids increasing costs to taxpayers. The House budget (HB 49), passed on May 2, and spends $123 billion in state and federal and funds over the next two years, while avoiding the tax increases proposed by Gov. John Kasich earlier in the year.  HB 49 will have its first hearing in the Senate today.

In addition to ongoing budget negotiations, Ohio lawmakers have another opportunity to save taxpayers money by approving pending legislation, HB 121 and SB 95 that would lift protectionist local laws that restrict competition in the piping materials that can be used in water infrastructure projects. 

HB 121 & SB 95, if passed, would allow more competition by lowering the price of materials and increasing flexibility. In localities where competition is restricted, the American Chemistry Council found that municipalities pay between 32% and 35% more for materials. Passing state legislation to ensure open competition for water infrastructure projects could save taxpayers nearly $100,000 per mile of pipe.

Ohio localities with closed competition laws mandate the use of piping materials that are both more costly to taxpayers, are more corrosive, and have shorter lifespans. State preemption of closed competition laws will allow aging water infrastructure to be replaced at less cost to taxpayer. Ohio legislators have the opportunity in the coming weeks to save taxpayer dollars by both passing a budget that does not included tax increases, and by approving HB 121/SB 95.

ATR sent the following letter to Ohio legislators in support of HB 121/SB 95;

Dear Members of the Ohio Legislature,

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and our supporters across Ohio, I urge you to support House Bill 121 and Senate Bill 95, legislation that would enable Ohio to rebuild its aging water infrastructure while reducing costs to taxpayers through open competition.

Arcane laws and procurement codes in many localities across the country, including Ohio, require water infrastructure to be made of pre-specified piping materials without considering project specifics, this prohibits the use of other materials that are less costly and just as, if not more, effective. This is classic protectionism. It’s another example of the government setting policy that picks industry winners and losers.

In this case, the big losers from local closed competition statutes for water infrastructure are taxpayers, who are forced to pay the heightened costs of lower-performing piping materials whose use is mandated under local law. HB 121 and SB 95 will fix this problem by opening competition to all piping materials, which will yield taxpayer savings.

HB 121 and SB 95 is a free market, pro-taxpayer reform that deserves your support. ATR will be educating your constituents and all Ohio taxpayers as to how lawmakers in Columbus vote on HB 121, and other important fiscal and economic matters throughout the legislative session. Please look to ATR to as a resource on tax, budget, and other policy matters pending before you. If you have any questions, please contact Patrick Gleason, ATR director of state affairs, at (202) 785-0266 or [email protected].


Grover G. Norquist 


Americans for Tax Reform

Photo Credit: Jim Bowen