Ohio House passes ‘driver shortage’ bill

February 24, 2020

Keith Goble

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A bill halfway through the Ohio statehouse would address a proclaimed “driver shortage” in the trucking industry.

The House voted 91-1 to advance an amended bill to aid motor carriers wanting to bring more drivers into the industry. Rep. Don Jones, R-Freeport, was the lone lawmaker to vote in opposition to the bill.

Sponsored by Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus, R-Minerva, and Rep. Stephanie Howse, D-Cleveland, HB222 would provide a tax credit to motor carriers for eligible training expenses for prospective drivers. The bill would cap the tax credit at $3 million annually with the amount allotted to a single employer set at $25,000.

An estimated $1.5 million would be needed to cover the tax credits. The amount would come mostly from the state’s general fund. The local government fund and public library fund would also be tapped to cover costs.

“The trucking industry transports over two-thirds of all freight throughout the United States … The legislation will help trucking companies that are facing difficulty finding drivers by allowing them to use this tax credit,” Stoltzfus said while speaking on the House floor.

Qualifying taxpayers would be allowed to begin claiming the tax credit in 2022.

Additionally, the commercial driver’s license skills test examination fee would be increased from $50 to $115. The increase is estimated to raise up to $700,000 annually.

HB222 awaits assignment to committee in the Senate. If approved in the chamber, the bill would head to the governor’s desk.

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OOIDA calls the effort to pass this bill to combat a driver shortage “misguided.”

OOIDA also considers the idea of a driver shortage to be a myth.

More Land Line coverage of news from Ohio is available.

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Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.