COLUMBUS — State Representative Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) was recently named Public Official of the Year for his work on Ohio’s Transportation and General operating budgets. The award was given by Clean Fuels Ohio, a statewide environmental group based in Columbus.
Edwards currently serves as the Majority Whip in the Ohio House of Representatives as well as on the House Finance Committee. The Finance Committee is responsible for conducting hearings on the all three of the state budgets. One of the main issues in the Transportation budget was Governor’s proposal to increase the state tax on transportation fuel. The money generated from that tax goes towards paying for road and bridge repairs around the state.
“My priority was to strike a balance between increasing revenue for much needed road and bridge repairs while trying not to crush a growing market in Ohio,” Edwards commented. “I am happy to continue to work with groups like Clean Fuels Ohio to establish common sense policies that will allow the alternative fuels market to grow.”
Along with the increase in the state’s motor fuel tax, the legislature also worked to install a tax on alternative transportation fuel. Fuels that do not dispense by the gallon such as compressed natural gas (CNG) and electricity were not paying anything into the road fund. Several prior administrations have viewed addressing the lack of tax on alternative fuels as a high priority. Initial proposals included an immediate tax on CNG at the diesel rate which fleets were not ready for. Also proposed was a flat $300/year registration fee on electric vehicles. This fee would have made Ohio the highest fee in the nation. Edwards actively worked to amend the legislation to phase in the tax on CNG over 5 years and to reduce the EV registration fee.
“Representative Edwards showed a tremendous amount of leadership working with us on the proposed fees for alternative transportation fuel,” said Jason Phillips, policy director for Clean Fuels Ohio. “Jay met with us to listen to our recommendations and worked with both the Speaker and the Chairman of Finance to try to reduce fees that could crush the market. Its primarily due to his efforts that tax on CNG is being phased in and the EV registration fee was reduced from the original amount proposed. He also was the author of the amendment that created the propane checkoff program in the general operating budget.”
Edwards is currently in his second term in the Ohio House. His district includes Meigs and parts of Vinton, Athens and Washington Counties.
Information and photo provided by Clean Fuels Ohio.