Ohio Legislators Scrap Proposed 50-Cent Tax

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Following a strong lobbying campaign by Ohio rental operators, Ohio legislators last month opted to scrap a proposed rental tax from the state's transportation finance bill.

The industry's lobbying efforts shifted into high gear in early March after the Ohio House of Representatives passed a transportation package that called for a 50-cents-per-day rental tax. The bill featured a smog-test exemption for all vehicles less than five years old. Legislators had introduced the rental tax to pay for a $29 million buyout of a state contract with ECheck, which provides vehicle emissions tests.

However, the Ohio Senate later approved a transportation bill with no rental tax. After a six-person conference committee tinkered with the Senate version, both the Senate and the House approved the transportation package with no new rental tax.

Governor Bob Taft is expected to sign the bill but veto provisions related to ECheck.

Lobbyists from the major car rental companies, as well as the Ohio Alliance of Car Renting Agencies, participated in the successful lobbying campaign. They pointed out that the tax unfairly singled out the car rental industry to solve a problem that the industry had no role in creating.

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