Voters may be surprised to know that Ohio’s anti-tax, Republican-run legislature imposed a new tax on Ohio’s electricity customers in July – House Bill 6, the FirstEnergy Solutions bailout bill.
That’s what Akron-based FirstEnergy Solutions, HB 6’s chief beneficiary, claims in a lawsuit filed this week in the Ohio Supreme Court. And if the high court agrees with FirstEnergy Solutions, that would deny Ohio voters any chance to vote HB 6 up or down at the ballot box, because the state constitution forbids a statewide referendum on tax legislation.
The Ohio House vote to approve the HB 6 bailout was 51-38 – just one more than the 50 required; the Senate vote was 19-12, two votes more than required. And the bill’s supporters denied that it was a tax measure – then. Instead, the bill’s backers said it will let two non-air-polluting nuclear power plants, Perry and Davis-Besse on Lake Erie, keep generating. Without subsidies, the plants’ comparatively costly electricity can’t compete with electricity generated by natural gas.
Read the full editorial at Cleveland.com.