AARP AARP States Ohio Press

AARP and AARP Foundation Support Injunction Blocking House Bill 6 Utility Tax

Originally issued December 10, 2020:

COLUMBUS, Ohio — AARP and AARP Foundation have requested the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas for permission to file an amicus brief supporting a Preliminary Injunction motion filed by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost to prevent the forced payment of more than $150 million in non-refundable utility taxes by Ohioans in 2021, allegedly obtained through corrupt practices in the Ohio legislature. Without action, the new tax is set to hit the January 2021 utility bills of Ohio individuals and businesses. The underlying lawsuit seeks to halt the nuclear energy subsidy in its entirety, a measure that could cost Ohioans more than $1 billion in coming years.

In a proposed amicus brief filed today, the organizations note that the HB 6 utility tariff would cause an undue burden on utility customers in Ohio, many of whom are older, living on fixed incomes and already struggling to pay their bills. This new utility tariff could be particularly harmful as Ohioan of all ages face additional challenges with the coronavirus pandemic.

“AARP originally fought against the passage of the bill arguing that the bill has no benefit for customers and has repeatedly argued that the tariffs amount to an unjustified subsidy for a profitable company’s shareholders,” said AARP Ohio State Director Holly Holtzen. "Without any action to reverse or repeal House Bill 6, Ohio utility consumers, including businesses, will begin paying new utility taxes of $150 million in January and are looking at ongoing fees totaling more than $1 billion over time.”

“As our state faces day after day of record-breaking rates of COVID cases, Ohioans are already struggling to pay their utility bills. This is especially an issue for older adults living on fixed incomes.”

Holtzen also noted that at least one Ohio utility provider recently reported the number of customers who had not made a payment in 60 days has more than tripled since April.

“We support this injunction as the best way to protect Ohioans from shouldering the burden of unjust and unfair fees, which according to Ohio’s Attorney General, once collected would be non-refundable under current Ohio law, even if the ongoing litigation reverses HB 6.”

A copy of the amicus brief filed by AARP Foundation is available here.

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