Fee Increases Are Not A Budget Solution

by Representative Jarrod B. Martin

Ohio’s economic crisis has presented lawmakers with the unique opportunity to examine state spending, rein in costs and create a more efficient, effective government structure. However, many of Ohio’s leaders chose to maintain the tax-and-spend status quo by placing a heavier financial burden on the people of our state.

Instead of creating a sustainable state budget, Governor Strickland and House Democrats raised taxes and created more than 150 new fines, fees and penalties to support Ohio’s ever-growing government spending. Specifically, these fees will affect each and every Ohioan because they will be imposed on everything from court costs and birth certificates to real estate licenses and hospice applications.

One way the Democrats are nickel-and-diming their way to a balanced budget is through a $20 late fee for renewing your vehicle registration and driver’s license. Since October, 400,000 individuals have been forced to pay this late fee, which has fattened the budget by more than $6 million to benefit the tax and spend party that is in control.

In times of economic hardship, state government should shrink its spending to fit its means, not grab at constituents’ pocketbooks to feed its growth. For this reason, I cosponsored legislation to repeal this $20 BMV late fee on motor vehicle registrations, driver’s licenses and motorcycle endorsements. House Bill 428, introduced by Representatives Ron Amstutz and Terry Boose, has bipartisan support in the House and will help keep Ohio’s government accountable to the public.

It is my belief that the government should serve the people, not the other way around. The day we start squeezing petty dollars out of hardworking families is the day we should finally commit to cost-saving measures to rein in state spending. There is no excuse to justify robbing the taxpayers of money that could have been used to put food on the table or help pay their bills-especially when there are so many alternatives on the table.

Since the beginning of the General Assembly, House Republicans have proposed numerous bills that would streamline state spending, reduce Medicaid waste and audit state agencies. Most of all, these bills would hold Ohio’s elected officials accountable for their expenditures and ensure that each dollar spent has a dollar’s return. Together, our bills would increase government efficiency by saving the taxpayers more than $1 billion annually, which would not only put our state on track toward a balanced budget but also eliminate the temptation to raid the wallets of our constituents.

Ohio has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. It is long overdue that state leaders stop pilfering money from individuals who are just trying to make an honest living and provide for their families. As always, I will continue the fight for an accountable, efficient state government.

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