HB 166, the State of Ohio’s General Operating Budget, is currently undergoing hearings in the Ohio General Assembly. The roughly $69 billion two-year plan is the first for Governor Mike DeWine. The Budget provides several opportunities for advanced transportation projects.
While the purpose of the budget is to fund state agencies, there are a variety of program related issues that can be addressed in the budget hearing process. Clean Fuels Ohio has submitted a number of amendment concepts for the Finance committee to review including funding for a statewide electric vehicle (EV) charging needs assessment, the establishment of a state fund for public charging infrastructure using a portion of the revenues collected from the EV registration fees, funding and broadening the eligibility for the alternative fuel vehicle conversion grant, and creating a checkoff program for the propane industry.
“The state budget process provides a unique set of opportunities to work with the legislature to create policies that will help make Ohio cleaner and more prosperous,” said Jason Phillips, Policy Director for Clean Fuels Ohio. “Many of our past successes have come from the budget process because the bill allows us to work on ideas and programs that go along with the function of the various state agencies. For example, we have been able to create incentives for alternative fuels, change regulations that do not make sense for the industry, and provide direction from the legislature for where state agencies should be going in terms of alternative transportation fuel.”
Because of how complicated the budget process is to navigate as well as the sheer number of different agendas held by legislators, one of the primary functions the Clean Fuels Ohio policy program offers is to articulate the needs of the industry to elected officials.
“We use our political knowledge and experience to help our clients understand where they are, see where they need to go and build a strategy for success,” said McKenzie Davis, lobbyist for The Success Group, which works on behalf of Clean Fuels Ohio. “We represent them before legislators and other policymakers and guide them through the complexities of the legislative and regulatory processes in order to achieve their goals. Ultimately, when we do our job right, everyone wins.”
The budget bill passed with strong bipartisan support in the House. It has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee where it will undergo more hearings and will undergo more rounds of the amendment process. The state budget is due to be completed in its entirety by the end of June.