OOIDA: Ohio driver shortage bill ‘misguided’

December 18, 2019

Keith Goble

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An effort moving forward at the Ohio statehouse would aid motor carriers wanting to bring more drivers into the trucking industry. OOIDA calls the effort “misguided.”

The House Ways and Means Committee has voted unanimously to advance a bill to provide a tax credit to motor carriers for eligible training expenses for prospective drivers.

Sponsored by Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus, R-Minerva, and Rep. Stephanie Howse, D-Cleveland, HB222 would cap the tax credit at $3 million annually, with the amount allotted to a single employer set at $50,000.

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.

Stoltzfus previously told committee members during a hearing the legislation is aimed “to increase training opportunities for new truck drivers in order to address the industry’s growing driver shortage.”

Howse has added that “although drivers play a key role in our country’s economic success, we continue to face a growing workforce shortage due to retirement and a lack of skilled drivers with experience.”

Changes made to the bill before the committee voted to advance the bill include delaying implementation until 2021.

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.

The bill awaits further consideration in the House.

H3: OOIDA opposition
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is opposed to the legislation intended to address a “nonexistent” driver shortage.

Mike Matousek, OOIDA manager of government affairs, has communicated to the Association’s nearly 7,000 Ohio members and to bill sponsors concerns about the measure.

“In short, there is no driver shortage in Ohio or any other state,” Matousek wrote to the bill sponsors. “Large motor carriers and those who represent them continue to perpetuate this myth.”

“Their goal is to get lawmakers to introduce legislation to subsidize costs for new entrants so they can employ the cheapest labor possible and continue the driver churn. That’s precisely what HB222 would accomplish.”

Matousek added in correspondence with Ohio members that the real issue in trucking is driver turnover due to low wages and poor working conditions.

“Without addressing driver wages and working conditions, a majority of drivers hired using this tax credit will leave the industry in less than a year.”

He acknowledges that not every motor carrier is guilty of mistreatment of drivers.

“In fact, plenty of carriers treat their drivers right, and their retention rates reflect that.”

OOIDA has encouraged Ohio truck drivers to contact the bill sponsors about concerns.

 

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More Land Line coverage of news from Ohio is available.

 

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.