Tracked House Bills – April 2019
Bricker & Eckler LLP
JobsOhio: Governor Mike DeWine announced April 15 the appointment of Robert C. Smith as chairman of the JobsOhio Board of Directors. Smith is partner and market leader of Cerity Partners’ Cleveland office and has more than 40 years of experience in investing, finance, accounting and business management. Smith has held a number of past and current board roles, including appointments to the boards of Team NEO where he is currently Chair, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, the Port of Cleveland and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Smith has an MBA in finance from Duquesne University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ohio Northern University (ONU), which also awarded him an honorary doctorate of business administration for his years of service as chair of the ONU board of trustees.
Governor’s Budget Bill: The Biennial Operating Budget Bill (HB 166) was introduced in the House March 25 and under Ohio’s Constitution, must be signed by the Governor by June 30. The proposed budget appropriates total spending of $69.56 billion in FY 2020, an increase of 4.1% from the current budget, and $71.29 billion in FY 2021, or a 2.5% increase. A link to the full bill can be found at: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-documents?id=GA133-HB-166 and the Legislative Service Commission’s Analysis is at: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/download?key=11470&format=pdf
Transportation Budget Bill: The Transportation Budget Bill (HB 62) was signed into law by Governor DeWine on April 3. The bill provides for an additional 10. 5 cents per gallon on gas, 7.5 cents short of the 18-cent increase originally requested by the Governor. Diesel taxes will rise by 19 cents a gallon. Both new tax rates will take effect July 1. Annual fees for electric vehicles will be $200, and fees for hybrids will be $100.
The final bill also provides that:
- front vehicle license plates on vehicles will no longer required as of July 1, 2020;
- the Department of Transportation will conduct a study of an Eastern Bypass in the state;
- the earned income tax credit will be increased;
- compressed natural gas will be taxed at the diesel rate after a five-year phase-in;
- $500,000 funding will be provided for repairs to the North Bass Island docks on Kenny Road;
- ODOT must study the Ohio River’s economic impact, and
- Municipalities and townships may levy an additional $5 license fee.
Bills Being Tracked: Changes from last month are noted below in bold.
HB 6 ENERGY (Callender, J., Wilkin, S.) Introduced April 12, this bill would create the Ohio Clean Air Program, to facilitate and encourage electricity production and use from clean air resources, to facilitate investment to reduce the emissions from other generating technologies that can be readily dispatched to satisfy demand in real time, and proactively engage the buying power of consumers in this state for the purpose of improving air quality in this state. The bill would support FirstEnergy Solutions’ nuclear plants by creating a surcharge for all Ohio customers to fund the program to be overseen by the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (“OAQDA”). The program would provide a $9.25 per megawatt hour for eligible resources with customers’ monthly cost caps would be set at $2.50 for residential, $20 for commercial, $250 for industrial and $2,500 for very large users of at least 45 million kilowatt hours a year. OAQDA would also be permitted to create and implement a Reduced Emissions Resource Program for low- or reduced-emissions generation. The legislation would also enable the director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to apply for an exemption from the E-Check program and to request the U.S. EPA authorize implementation of the clean air program as an alternative. The bill appears to be moving quickly with support from Speaker Householder and has been assigned to the Energy Generation Subcommittee.
HB 34 MINIMUM WAGE (Kelly, B.) This bill would increase the state minimum wage and allow municipalities, townships and counties to establish higher minimum wage requirements. The bill has been referred to the House Commerce & Labor Committee.
HB 48 ROAD IMPROVEMENT FUND (Greenspan, D.) This measure would provide for a new Local Government Road Improvement Fund for local governments to fund road improvements. It has been referred to the Finance Committee.
HB 62 TRANSPORTATION BUDGET (Oelslager, S.) This is the Transportation Budget bill and will make appropriations for programs related to transportation and public safety for the biennium beginning July 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2021. It will also provide authorization and conditions for the operation of those programs. As noted above, a compromise bill was signed into law by Governor DeWine on April 3.
HB 93 PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION (Skindell, M., Upchurch, T.) Introduced February 21, in addition to any appropriations made for the 2020-2021 biennium, this bill would make additional appropriations related to public transportation in the amount of $100 million for public transportation and $50 million for the highway operating fund in both 2020 and 2021. The bill has been referred to the House Finance Committee.
HB 98 LOAN FUND (Jones, D., Cera, J.) Similar to HB 695 introduced in the last General Assembly, this bill would reinstate the rural industrial park loan program under Ohio Development Services Agency, as detailed in ORC 122.23-.25, with an appropriation of $25 million. The program would assist eligible applicants in financing the development and improvement of industrial parks by providing financial assistance in the form of loans and loan guarantees for land acquisition; constructing, reconstructing, rehabilitating, remodeling, renovating, enlarging, or improving industrial park buildings; and infrastructure improvements. The bill has been assigned to the House Economic & Workforce Development where it had its first hearing March 27.
HB 116 TRANSPORTATION PLANNING (Brinkman, T.) Introduced March 4, in addition to any appropriations made for the 2020-2021 biennium, this bill would make additional appropriations related to transportation planning and research in the amount of $4.5 million for FY 2020 which shall be used to (1) study the Cincinnati Eastern Bypass Project, (2) review work done previously by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet relative to the Brent Spence Bridge Project, and (3) make recommendations on moving forward with both projects cooperatively. The bill has been referred to the House Finance Committee.
HB 149 TAX EXEMPTION (Merrin, D.) Introduced March 19 and identical to HB 371 from the last General Assembly, this bill would amend ORC 5709.51 among other code sections and temporarily exempt from property tax the increased value of land subdivided for residential development until construction commences or the land is sold. The bill would benchmark an “ascribed taxable value” of the newly subdivided parcel, and any increase in taxable value would be exempt from taxation until either (1) Construction of a residential building on that property commences, or (2) Title to the property is transferred for consideration by a qualifying owner to another person. The construction of streets, sidewalks, curbs, or driveways or the installation of water, sewer, or other utility lines on a subdivided parcel would not cause construction of a residential building to commence for purposes of the bill, and the value of those improvements would thus automatically be exempted from taxation until construction of a residence begins or the property is sold. The bill is now being called the “Affordable Homebuilding and Housing Act” and has been referred to the House Economic and Workforce Development Committee, when two hearings have occurred. The bill appears to be generating concerns from associations representing local entities, including the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, the Ohio Library Council, the Ohio Association of School Board Officials and the County Auditors Association of Ohio.
HB 162 TAX CREDIT (Patton, T.) This bill would increase the overall cap on the motion picture tax credit from $40 million per fiscal year to $100 million per fiscal biennium. The bill has been referred to the Finance Committee.
HB 166 STATE BUDGET BILL (Oelslager, S.) As described above, this is the Administration’s Biennial Budget Bill. It has been referred to the Finance Committee where hearings are occurring.
HB 185 JOBSOHIO (Ingram, C.) Introduced April 4, this bill would establish that records kept by JobsOhio are public records subject to inspection and copying under Ohio Public Records Law and to require all meetings of the JobsOhio Board of Directors to be open to the public, except when in an executive session. It has been referred to the Economic and Workforce Development Committee.
HB 190 BROADBAND PROGRAM (Smith, R.) This bill would create the Ohio Broadband Development Grant Program, to encourage the Department of Transportation to work with telecommunications providers to lay fiber optic cable, and to make an appropriation. It has been referred to the Finance Committee.
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