State Senator Josh McKoon of Columbus has prefiled several bills that if passed, would roll back some of the taxes that came with the passage of House Bill 170, last year’s major transportation funding bill. The measures have to do with the hotel tax and the excise tax on fuel that is paid by governmental entities.
The House – Senate conference committee that reconciled the two versions of the bill decided to add a $5 per room per night fee on most hotel stays that was estimated to raise $150 million annually. Those in the lodging industry were not happy. Senate Bill 252 repeals the fee completely, without another revenue source specified to make up the shortfall.
Senate Bill 253 exempts counties, municipalities, and school districts from having to pay the excise tax on vehicles they operate, including school buses. Senate Bill 251 serves the same purpose, but does not include counties and municipalities. The two measures address a concern by local governments that they are now being charged the excise tax on fuel purchases from which they were previously exempt.
Legislative leadership previously indicated a desire to mot make changes to the Transportation Funding Act until after it had been in effect for a full year, meaning changes to the funding formula would not be considered for the 2016 session.