On February 16, Governor Kasich appointed Daniel Conway and Lawrence Friedeman to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The appointments are subject to Senate approval. Mr. Conway, a Republican of Columbus, is a longtime attorney and adjunct professor at Ohio State University’s law school, where he teaches public utility regulatory law. Mr. Friedeman, a Democrat of Waterville, has been with IGS Energy since 2010. He oversees market compliance functions and interacts with regulatory commissions and stakeholders. The two were among five finalists for the two vacancies selected by a nominating council earlier this month. Mr. Conway has been appointed to the term beginning April 11 and ending April 10, 2022. Mr. Friedeman will replace Howard Petricoff who resigned after it became clear the Senate would not vote to affirm the appointment.
Governor’s Operating Budget: The Ohio Biennial Budget was introduced February 8 as HB 49 in the Ohio House of Representatives. The budget must be approved by June 30, 2017. The administration's 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 themes for the Budget bill include: 1. further Tax Reform, including additional tax cuts for low to middle-income Ohioans and fewer tax brackets, as well as centralized filing of municipal business income taxes; 2. additional Higher Education Reform emphasizing workforce development and degree completion in fields of in-demand jobs; 3. Technology Innovation, with the creation of a new state Chief Innovation Officer and the increased use of data analytics and innovation to tackle the state’s challenges; 4. Transportation Innovation through the support of smart highway projects, autonomous vehicle testing and a “sense and avoid” drone test site, and 5. additional Medicaid and Human Services Reforms, with additional emphasis on the use of managed care to improve outcomes and continued strong support of programs that provide assistance with mental health needs or drug abuse and addiction.
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. Further detail on economic development-related programs affected by the proposed Budget will be provided in future issues.
To access the Budget Bill and the LSC Analysis, go to: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-documents?id=GA132-HB-49. For the Budget in Brief, see http://www.lsc.ohio.gov/fiscal/budgetinbrief132/budgetinbrief-hb49-in.pdf. For the Line Item Budget in Detail, see: http://www.lsc.ohio.gov/fiscal/bid132/budgetindetail-hb49-in.pdf.
Governor’s State of the State Address: Governor Kasich requested last week that the General Assembly authorize him to hold the State of the State Address in Sandusky, Ohio this year. He requested to hold the speech at the Sandusky State Theatre, at 7pm on April 4th, 2017. The speech will be available at www.ohiochannel.org. As part of the events related to the Governor's bi-annual address, members of the legislature will accompany the Governor and members of his cabinet to Sandusky where committee hearings will be held and other legislative activity will occur.
Bills Being Tracked:
HB 10 CROWDFUNDING (Arndt, S.) This bill was introduced in the House February 1 and would permit intrastate equity crowdfunding under certain circumstances. It was referred to the Financial Institutions, Housing & Urban Development Committee.
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.Senate Bills:
SB 3 WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT (Beagle, B., Balderson, T.) Introduced January 31, this bill 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. It has been referred to the Transportation, Commerce and Workforce Committee.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Each inquiry will be assessed through the OEDA Policy & Programs Committee Policy Procedure Process.