Bipartisan Mayors Alliance Says Now is Time to Reinvest in Ohio Communities, Urges Lawmakers to Approve Dewine Gas Tax Proposal
March 27, 2019
Group also announced appointment of new board member, Lancaster Mayor David Scheffler and recognized House Speaker Larry Householder and House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes for Bipartisanship
COLUMBUS – The Ohio Mayors Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of mayors in Ohio’s largest cities, convened in Columbus today to push for more state investments into local communities, starting with the approval of Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed increase in the state motor fuel tax. The group also addressed the urgent need to reform the process for addressing school districts in academic distress.
“Now is the time for the state to reinvest in our local communities and it can do so right now by approving Gov. DeWine’s proposed increase in the motor fuel tax,” said Kettering Mayor Don Patterson. “Serious infrastructure investment is needed and we can’t afford to settle for half measures or kick the can down the road.”
The Ohio Mayors Alliance expressed appreciation for Gov. Mike DeWine’s leadership to responsibly address Ohio’s transportation funding shortfall. They also emphasized the need to reinvest into Ohio’s local communities and urged state lawmakers to do more to support cities through the state operating budget.
“We are encouraged by the tone of better partnership and the recognition that local communities have been hurting over these last few years,” said Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley “But there is a real opportunity to reinvest in Ohio’s cities and small towns and strengthen the statewide economy from the bottom up.”
The mayors also addressed the urgent need of reforming the state’s process for taking over school districts in academic distress. The mayors are concerned about the lack of local input and the prospect of mayoral control following the Academic Distress Commission process. Two Ohio Mayors Alliance cities – Youngstown and Lorain – are currently subject to these state-run commissions, and several others could be next.
“Addressing schools that aren’t succeeding should be a shared priority of both state and local leaders,” said Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer. “Instead, the current top-down, heavy handed approach by the state isn’t working and needs immediate reform. We are encouraged that the governor and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have recognized the need to fix this process, but for communities like Lorain the time to act is now.”
The Ohio Mayors Alliance also held its first meeting of 2019, where the group recognized House Speaker Larry Householder and House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes for their bipartisan leadership on passing a bill (HB 62) to help address Ohio’s transportation funding shortfall. The group presented both leaders the Ohio Mayors Alliance Commonsense Governing Award.
Additionally, the group also appointed Lancaster Mayor David Scheffler to the Ohio Mayors Alliance Board of Directors. Scheffler replaced former Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik who was appointed to serve in the DeWine administration as the Ohio Development Services Agency Director.
“It’s an honor to serve on the board of the Ohio Mayors Alliance and I’m looking forward to working with this bipartisan coalition of local leaders from across the state,” said Lancaster Mayor David Scheffler. “State and federal policies can have big impacts on local communities, which is why groups like the Ohio Mayors Alliance are so important to our cities.”
The Ohio Mayors Alliance is a bipartisan coalition of mayors in Ohio’s largest cities. It has been working to strengthen the partnership between state and local leaders since its formation in 2016. For more information on the group’s policy priorities and its members, please visit: www.OhioMayorsAlliance.org.