A previously unplanned session date was added to the calendar of the Ohio House of Representatives so that lawmakers could concur with Senate Amendments and pass House Bill 6. The move was successful and the legislation passed 51 yeas to 38 nays in a bipartisan vote Tuesday.
Members spoke for and against the bill that provides what many opponents refer to as “a bailout” for two nuclear power plants near Lake Erie.
“This bill will protect 4,000 primary and secondary jobs in northern Ohio – good jobs, good people, that work hard and contribute to our communities and pay taxes. It’s going to save the tax base in northeast Ohio. It’s going to protect 15 percent of Ohio’s [energy] generation.”
“In addition, this bill will save ratepayers $1.3 billion dollars. It also helps protect the zero emissions, the environmentally friendly generation that we already have in our portfolio of generation here in Ohio,” Callender added. “The bottom line is, this bill saves money, preserves jobs and protects Ohio’s environments.”
Several Democratic members spoke in opposition to the bill, although nine voted in favor of the legislation. Rep. Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati) expressed concerns that the Energy Efficiency programs were being eliminated and that money was going out of state to an Indiana coal plant that all Ohio ratepayers would be supporting.
“Throughout the debate on the fate of these nuclear facilities, we were told over and over again that time was of the essence. That if we didn’t pass this bailout tax immediately, all sorts of terrible things would happen,” Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) noted. “Yet the Senate amendments do not provide any bailout money until April of 2021 – almost two years from now.”
Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) said the bill is “bailout for the ratepayers” in explaining his support. Seitz also spoke about the 30 percent tax credit he received on his federal taxes for installing solar panels on his home. “I did not need mandates to do the environmentally conscious thing. I am greener than many of the others who will be voting no on this bill. I put my money where their mouth is.”
Americans for Prosperity-Ohio has been consistently opposed to the bill. Micah Derry, state director, said that “polling has clearly demonstrated that a decisive majority of Ohioans know the redistribution of wealth from ratepayers to a favored few corporations is wrong. Apparently legislators who also stand by this truth are in the minority.”
“As a conservative cutter, I’ll never get another chance to reduce spending and return money to Ohioans in this amount – it’s a huge reduction,” Rep. Nino Vitale (R-Urbana), the author of the original bill, shared with The Ohio Star.
“And government likes to spend, not to cut, so this is a great victory. It also reduces the cost of business significantly in Ohio,” he added. “The Legislative Service Commission numbers that I just got this morning, that don’t even include year one savings, it’s $1.3 billion for ratepayers and it doesn’t include the business side of the equation either.”
– – –