OEDA Legislative Update
  April 2017

General Update:

SiteOhio Rolls out First Business-Ready Sites Cleared by JobsOhio:

SiteOhio is moving forward with its first construction-ready sites following a usability audit and a due diligence study to ensure strict criteria are met, including functional utilities and other physical assets. The process has involved collaborations between JobsOhio, the Ohio Development Services Agency, and multiple statewide utility and infrastructure partners, working with consultants from InSite Consulting to evaluate the information for specific criteria. The following sites have completed the authentication process and bear the SiteOhio icon:

- Clark County - Prime Ohio II Industrial Park, Springfield

- Richland County - Airport West Industrial Park, Mansfield

- Highland County - Leesburg Industrial Park, Leesburg

- Wood County - Eastwood Commerce Center, Troy Township

- Clark County - NextEdge Research & Technology Park, Springfield

- Crawford County - Ohio Crossroads Industrial Center, Bucyrus

They can be found at the interactive site selection map operated by JobsOhio, www.jobs-ohio.com/site-selection . General information on SiteOhio can be found at https://development.ohio.gov/redev/siteohio.htm.


Bills Being Tracked:  (updated information differing from last month is marked in Red)

House Bills

HB 10 CROWDFUNDING  (Arndt, S.)  This bill was introduced in the House February 1 and would permit intrastate equity crowdfunding under certain circumstances.  The bill would provide an exemption from registration under the Ohio Securities Law for certain crowdfunding initiatives.  It was referred to the Financial Institutions, Housing & Urban Development Committee.
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HB 26 TRANSPORTATION BUDGET  (McColley, R.) The bill was signed by the Governor March 31 and makes appropriations for programs related to transportation and public safety for the biennium beginning July 1, 2017, and ending June 30, 2019, and provides authorization and conditions for the operation of those programs.  The $7.8 billion bill provides ODOT with the authority to implement pilot programs on Interstate 670 in Columbus, I-90 in Cleveland and I-275 in Cincinnati that will allow speed limits to be varied in an effort to ease congestion during peak traffic hours.  The legislation also creates a Smart Transportation Action Advisory Team consisting of five members appointed by the governor, two members appointed by the House speaker and two members appointed by the Senate president. The panel is required to hear testimony, evaluate concepts, and make non-binding recommendations to the General Assembly on the use of public money for smart transportation initiatives. The panel will provide recommendations on projects such as “Smart Mobility Corridors” on Interstate 270 in Columbus and Interstate 90 in Cleveland, which will test autonomous vehicle technology. The budget boosts public transit funding by $10 million over each year of the biennium, although the Senate had attempted to push that figure even higher by using revenue the state is expected to receive from a Volkswagen emissions settlement. The Senate also sought to increase funding for local roads and bridge projects by $48 million over the biennium through the Public Works Commission's Local Transportation Improvement Program. However, that provision was removed in conference committee for fear that it could lessen the state’s ability to leverage federal dollars.
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HB 49 BIENNIAL BUDGET  (Smith, R.)  The path forward on the Governor’s Operating Budget for FY 2018-19 took a new direction April 13, when Governor Kasich, House Speaker Rosenberger and Senate President Obhof announced that $800 million needs to be cut from proposed spending due to projected shortfalls in state tax collections.  More details should emerge this week.  Amendments to the bill were due last week.  OEDA submitted an amendment through Representative Scott Ryan that would remove the October 15, 2017 expiration date from the Enterprise Zone Program.  A House Substitute Bill should be introduced April 24, and the House is scheduled to vote on the bill May 3. The Senate will then begin its work on the budget, and the bill must be approved by June 30, 2017.  The administration's original proposed budget totals $144.3 billion in spending. The Fiscal Year (FY) 18-19 budget totals $71.5 billion in FY18, a 4.4 percent increase from FY17, and $72.8 billion in FY19, a 1.8 percent increase from FY18. The proposed State General Revenue Fund (GRF), which is the part of the budget the state can spend at its discretion, is $33.1 billion in FY18, 5.6 percent below FY17 estimates, and $33.8 billion in FY19, a 2.2 percent increase from FY18. State share GRF (not including federal Medicaid appropriations) is $22.8 billion in FY18, a 0.8 percent decrease from FY17 estimates, and $23.3 billion in FY19, an increase of 2.3 percent over FY18. The decrease in GRF apparently arises largely from the elimination of the Medicaid managed care sales tax.  General Revenue Fund appropriations for the Development Services Agency appear to be relatively flat for FY 2018, with a small increase budgeted for FY 2019. 
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HB 53 UNION DUES/RIGHT TO WORK (Becker, J.) This bill was introduced in mid-February by Representative Pete Becker from Clermont County.  Co-sponsors include Representatives Hood, Brinkman, Dean, Thompson, Vitale, Goodman, Riedel, Roegner, Merrin, Antani, Zeltwanger and Keller.  It would remove any requirement under the Public Employees Collective Bargaining Law that public employees join or pay dues to any employee organization, prohibit public employers from requiring public employees to join or pay dues to any employee organization and prohibit an employee organization from being required to represent public employees who are not members of the employee organization.  The bill was referred Feb. 14 to the House Finance Committee.  No hearings have yet occurred.
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HB 69 TIF DISTRICTS (Cupp, R.)    This legislation was introduced February 15 and would require reimbursement of certain township fire and emergency medical service levy revenue forgone because of the creation of a municipal tax increment financing district.  The board of township trustees may, by resolution, waive the application of the reimbursement or negotiate with the municipal corporation that created the district for a lesser amount of payments in lieu of taxes.  In sponsor testimony, Representative Robert Cupp said the bill will assist townships that provide fire, emergency medical and ambulance services to both the township and to a municipal corporation located within the township that does not provide its own.  This bill gives townships the choice of collecting the reimbursement, waiving it, or negotiating a partial reimbursement of the money the levy would have raised but for the TIF, Representative Cupp explained. The bill only applies prospectively and to TIFs created by municipal corporations where townships provide the fire, emergency, or rescue services.  The bill was referred to the House State and Local Government Committee, where four hearings have occurred.
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HB 102  SCHOOL FUNDING  (Brenner, A.)  This bill, introduced March 1 and referred to the House Finance Committee, would replace locally levied school district property taxes with a statewide property tax and require recipients of certain tax exemptions to reimburse the state for such levy revenue lost due to those exemptions.  It would also increase the state sales and use tax rates and allocate additional revenue to state education purposes; to repeal school district income taxes; require the Treasurer of State to issue general obligation bonds to refund certain school district debt obligations; create a new system of funding schools where the state pays a specified amount per student that each student may use to attend the public or chartered nonpublic school of the student's choice, without the requirement of a local contribution; eliminate the School Facilities Commission; eliminate the Educational Choice Scholarship Pilot Program, Pilot Project Scholarship Program, Autism Scholarship Program, and Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program; eliminate interdistrict open enrollment; require educational service centers to transport students on a countywide basis, and permit school districts to enter into a memoranda of understanding for one district to manage another.
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HB 114 RENEWABLE ENERGY (Blessing, L.)    This bill, introduced March 8, is very similar to last year’s HB 554 except it would: convert the renewable energy standards to goals indefinitely, rather than for a two year period; permit residential customers of a distribution utility or electric services company to opt out of any rider, charge or other recovery mechanism designed to recoup the cost of renewable energy; clarify that renewables are bypassable charges, rather than nonbypassable charges, and specify that the 12.5% renewable energy goal to be attained by 2027 will end at that time and not continue indefinitely. The bill passed in the House March 30 and now moves to the Senate, where it may face more difficulty in earning the support of 20 senators needed to override the veto Governor Kasich has already all but guaranteed.
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HB 122  ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT  (Hambley, S., Rogers, J.)  Introduced March 9, this bill would establish a Regional Economic Development Alliance Study Committee to study the benefits and challenges involved in creating regional economic development alliances. Senate Bill 97 is a companion to this bill.  The bill is relatively simple in that it creates a study committee to look at the pros and cons to establishing regional economic development alliances.  The committee is made up of 3 members of the House; 3 members of the Senate; the Governor, or his designee; 2 persons from academia engaged in a relevant field of study (appointed by the co-chairs of the committee); 2 economic development professionals (appointed by co-chairs of the committee); and the chair of the Regional Prosperity Initiative (or their designee) as a nonvoting member.  Specifically the committee is charged with studying enhancing collaboration for successful regional economic development; shared services; and also the mobilization of resources among alliance members. The committee is directed to consult with county commissioners, township trustees, city councils and mayors, members of statewide and regional organizations that represent political subdivision, and members of chambers of commerce.

Senate Bills:  

SB 3  WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT (Beagle, B., Balderson, T.)  Originally, introduced in January, a substitute bill was introduced in April that would revise the laws governing the state's workforce development system, programs that may be offered by primary and secondary schools, certificates of qualification for employment, and the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Agency, and would designate the first week of May as In-Demand Jobs Week.   The changes in the substitute bill impact five key areas including high school credits for subject area competencies; OhioMeansJobs readiness seal; regional workforce collaboration model; simultaneous credit for integrated coursework; and statutory definitions.
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SB 9   SALES TAX HOLIDAY (Bacon, K.)  This bill, introduced January 31 and which has become an annual piece of legislation over the last few years, would provide for a three-day sales tax "holiday" in August 2017 during which sales of clothing and school supplies are exempt from sales and use taxes.  It has been referred to the Ways and Means Committee.
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SB 43  BUILDING CODES (Bacon, K.)  This bill was introduced February 9 and would enable limited home rule townships to adopt building codes regardless of any similar codes adopted by the county in which the township resides.  In introducing the bill, sponsor Representative Bacon said his proposal would let residents and businesses in certain limited home rule townships obtain building permits at the township level, which would be more convenient than seeking permits from county departments.  The bill was referred to the Local Government, Public Safety & Veterans Affairs Committee, where several hearings have occurred.
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SB 51   LAKE ERIE (Skindell, M., Eklund, J.)   This bill, introduced February 14, would authorize the creation of a special improvement district to facilitate Lake Erie shoreline improvement. The definition of “public improvement” would be expanded to include shoreline improvement projects, and funds from special assessments on property within the district could be used to pay for such improvement projects.  It has been referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
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SB 97   ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT  (LaRose, F., Yuko, K.)  This is a companion bill to HB 122 and would establish a Regional Economic Development Alliance Study Committee to study the benefits and challenges involved in creating regional economic development alliances.  It has been referred to the Senate Government Oversight & Reform Committee.
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SB 128 NUCLEAR ENERGY (Eklund, J., LaRose, F.)   This bill was introduced April 6 and would provide financial assistance to FirstEnergy’s two nuclear power plants.  The bill would establish the Zero Emission Nuclear Resource Program, which would create the zero-emissions credits, or ZECs, to be priced by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and purchased by distribution utilities with nuclear plants. Utilities would recover that cost through rate increases on consumers in areas with nuclear plants with the increase capped at 5% of June 2015 rates. The program would sunset in 16 years and run in two year cycles. Under the bill, should those two plants be sold or transferred the value of ZECs received is to be reduced by an amount equal to one-half the dollar amount of any net proceeds of the sale. That provision would not be in effect in the event of bankruptcy, according to the bill. The measure would also require any company subject to the bill's provisions with a headquarters in Ohio to maintain that headquarters. Although the ZEN program is modeled after similar programs in Illinois and New York, Senator  Eklund said it contains several new provisions including the 16-year sunset and the plant sales provision. Another new item is language requiring plants receiving credits to maintain employment levels "similar to that of nuclear energy resources constructed prior to 1990 in the United States with the same reactor type, similar nameplate capacity, and single-unit location.
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SB 131 TAX CREDITS  (Dolan, M.)  Introduced April 13, the bill provides that compensation paid to certain home-based employees may be counted for purposes of an employer qualifying for and complying with the terms of a Job Creation Tax Credit.
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SB 132 TAX CREDIT (Dolan, M.) Introduced April 13, this bill would establish a five-year pilot program whereby taxpayers with facilities in this state with activated foreign trade zone status may claim a nonrefundable commercial activity tax credit equal to the amount redeployed by the taxpayer to job creation and renewable energy resources.

 

OEDA has a Policy and Programs Committee that monitors legislative activity and considers issues of importance to OEDA members and the economic development community in Ohio. This committee and OEDA's Board is assisted by the law firm of Bricker & Eckler, LLP who serve as advisors to OEDA. Any inquiries should be sent to OEDA at oeda@assnoffices.com.  Each inquiry will be assessed through the OEDA Policy & Programs Committee Policy Procedure Process.




 

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