Tracked House Bills – April 2021

Apr 20, 2021 | Advocacy

Jeffry Harris
Bricker & Eckler LLP

 

 

State News:

Ohio’s $162.57B biennial operating budget proceeds through the General Assembly: On April 13, the House Finance Committee accepted a substitute version of HB 110, which was introduced with Governor DeWine’s proposed two-year budget.  The House has made many changes, including a decades’ long legislative fix to Ohio’s K-12 school funding.  The budget is further described in the legislative updates, below.

The House increased the budget’s General Revenue Fund spending by approximately $410MM – to $74.67B.  Beyond GRF, across all Ohio’s fund accounts, the House proposes to spend $162.57B, also representing an increase from the executive budget proposal (by $706.6MM).

This measure now includes the so-called Fair School Funding Plan and, in this Republican-dominated legislature, an obligatory tax cut (a 2% across-the-board cut to Ohio’s personal income tax; as well as a reinstatement of the sales tax exemption for sales of investment metal bullion and coins, repealed in the previous budget).

The proposed education funding overhaul will commence during the 2021-2022 school year, with phasing to occur across six years.

Similar to COVID relief elements included in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, this state budget includes $100MM for restaurants and bars, $25MM for the lodging industry, $20MM for entertainment venues, and $10MM for new businesses.  These programs would be administered by ODSA.

In a related note, the House budget changes include the creation of a Joint Legislative Oversight and Review Committee of Federal COVID Relief Aid to oversee the distribution and spending of federal COVID relief dollars.  This committee would have authority to hold hearings, receive testimony, issue reports and make recommendations.

State Controlling Board to Create New Funds Accounts to Accept Federal Stimulus:  On April 19, Ohio OBM asked that the Controlling Board approve the creation of three new funds to accept the American Rescue Plan Act’s state and local government stimulus payments.

The three new funds will be:

  • State Fiscal Recovery Fund (5CV3) – To accept funds allocated to the state of Ohio from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund from the American Rescue Plan Act. Ohio is estimated to receive approximately $5.5B from the U.S. Treasury to be used for costs incurred through December 31, 2024.  Payments are to be made to the State from the U.S. Treasury within 60 days of certification.
  • Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (5CV4) – To accept non-entitlement funds allocated through the State of Ohio from the American Rescue Plan Act to non-entitlement units of local government. Ohio local governments are estimated to receive $815MM in funds to be distributed within 30 days of receiving the funds to the local governments.  Counties and metro cities will receive Local Fiscal Recovery Fund allocations directly from U.S. Treasury and will not pass through the Ohio OBM.
  • Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (5CV5) – To accept funds allocated to the State of Ohio from the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund from the American Rescue Plan Act. Ohio is estimated to receive $274MM to carry out critical capital projects directly enabling work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the public health emergency. The U.S. Treasury is required to establish the application process for the funds no later than 60 days after the legislation’s enactment.

Notably, Ohio OBM’s request to create the funds “does not establish appropriation authority to expend funds.”

Ohio’s COVID relief measures make progress in the General Assembly: On April 15, the House unanimously approved four bills that are companions to measures originating in the upper chamber – SB 108, SB 109, SB 110, and SB 111 – to authorize more than $2B in funding from the federal CARES Act and Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (signed by the President on December 27, 2020).

The bills seek to accomplish the following:

  • HB 167: Sends $465MM to ODSA and ultimately to Community Action Agencies for rental and utility assistance.
  • HB 168: Provides money for local fairs, veterans homes and child care centers, as well as supports new businesses and music / entertainment venues, including outdoor and hybrid venues.
  • HB 169: Provides $125MM for bars, restaurants and lodging businesses, with grants to bars and restaurants in amounts of up to $30,000 each (amounts to be based on need, occupancy rates and lost revenue).
  • HB 170: $857MM for schools.

 

Federal News:

President Biden’s $2T infrastructure & climate plan update:  The Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan targets at least $1T worth of backlogged infrastructure improvements, according to the Biden Administration, including addressing a nearly 40-year backlog of bridge repairs.  The measure would represent the largest increase in federal spending for research and development and public infrastructure since the 1960s.

This effort to rebuild the nation’s roads, bridges, rail lines, and utilities seeks to make a large-scale pivot to renewable energy sources.  The plan is large enough that Democrats propose 15 years’ of higher taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals to pay for 8 years’ of infrastructure spending.

Advisors are looking to advance the Biden campaign’s Build Back Better agenda via separate Congressional measures, given the thin Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate.  First will be this infrastructure improvement component, which already received condemnation from Congressional Republicans for its size, scope, and proposed funding via tax increases.  (It remains whether the current effort to restore Congressional earmarks may help build any bipartisanship in this regard; see federal news item, below.)   The President has tapped five cabinet secretaries, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, to navigate the plan through Congress, including speaking with Republicans.

If Republican support remains non-existent, the Biden administration likely will pursue passage via reconciliation measure in the Senate to avoid Sen. Mitch McConnell’s threatened filibuster.  Second will be a so-called American Family Plan to address income inequalities, child care, and other societal challenges.

The first phase would include funding for roads and bridges ($115B); public transit ($85B); Amtrak and freight rail ($80B): water ports ($17B); airports ($25B); broadband expansion ($100B); water infrastructure, including replacement of lead water pipes in the nation’s public water systems ($111B); and construction of up to 500,000 electrical vehicle charging stations.  As to the last element, clean energy transformation courses through every aspect of the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan (rather than as a side issue in a stimulus plan or budget bill).  Further illustrations: the measure includes $174B to induce the manufacture and purchase of electric vehicles; and the Plan includes incentives for improving existing buildings’ energy efficiencies (such as PACE-financed improvements).

The American Jobs Plan also includes $180B for basic, government-funded research and development.  During the post-WWII era, the federal government funded large amounts of basic research (largely as a Cold War tool), but drastically reduced such investments during the past several decades.

Further, the Plan would spend $300B to promote advanced manufacturing, in direct response to aggressive efforts by the Chinese to dominate this market segment.

The plan’s cost may be offset, at least in part, by raising taxes on corporations, including increasing the corporate income tax rate to 28%, from 21% (the latter was the new, lower rate imposed under the 2017 tax cut bill, which cut the rate from 35%), and forcing multinationals to pay more in U.S. taxes by raising the rate of minimum tax on global income.

(Changes from last month are noted in BOLD):

PENDING LEGISLATION IN THE 134TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY

HOUSE RESOLUTIONS:

HR 19 INFRASTRUCTURE BANK (Sobecki, L., Stephens, J.)  This resolution urges Congress to create a National Infrastructure Bank to finance urgently needed infrastructure projects.

During sponsor testimony on February 24 in the House Infrastructure & Rural Development Committee, sponsor Rep. Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) noted this resolution is in response to state and local governments’ need for a source of low-interest loans to address infrastructure issues.

HR 35 PROPERTY TAX COMMITTEE (Troy, D.)  This resolution seeks to authorize the creation of the temporary House Select Committee on Property Tax Education and Reform.  The 10-member Committee would provide the Ohio General Assembly with a better understanding of the history and purpose of Ohio’s property tax laws, and would include a review of exemptions to property taxes.  The resolution has been referred to the House Ways & Means Committee.

HOUSE BILLS:

HB 2 BROADBAND SERVICES (Carfagna, R., Stewart, B.) Introduced on February 4, 2021, this bill concerns broadband expansion, including access to electric cooperative easements and facilities. Note the companion SB 8 in the upper chamber.  Note further this legislation was dropped into the State’s biennial budget bill – HB 110 – via action by the House Finance Committee on April 13.

This bill quickly cleared the House Finance Committee, where Sponsor Rep. Rick Carfagna (R – Genoa Township) called this repeat measure of House Bill 13 (133rd General Assembly) a “labor of love” as approximately 1 million Ohioans lack access to reliable broadband.

The bill establishes the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program (R.C. 122.40 et seq.), to be housed within ODSA, providing funds to broadband providers that otherwise would not pursue expansion in certain areas of Ohio without such support. Specifically, this will provides ODSA-vetted grants to cover broadband providers’ costs of providing hard-to-reach, last-mile connectivity.

The Committee adopted an amended bill that increased funding for the proposed program ($20MM in State Fiscal Year 2021 (i.e., current budget period); $170 MM in SFY 2022; and $20MM in SFY 2023). Specifically, the Committee added two (2) amendments: (1) using $150MM of the Governor’s proposed $290MM in broadband spending to arrive at the SFY 2022 appropriation ($170MM), while keeping the SFY 2023 appropriation as originally proposed ($20MM); and (2) inserting an emergency clause.

On February 18, the legislation cleared the House (88-5 vote).

On March 23, the Senate Financial Institutions & Technology Committee heard testimony suggesting changes to the measure, including: (1) AEP Ohio requesting that electric distribution utilities be allowed to apply to the ODSA for grant funds; and (2) both the Ohio Economic Development Association and AARP requesting that governmental entities be allowed to apply for grant funds (the statewide economic development organization noted, “Ohio needs an ‘all hands on deck’ solution” to close the digital divide).

HB 10 UTILITY LAWS (Leland, D.) Introduced by the House Democrats on February 4, 2021, this bill makes changes regarding electric utility service law, to allow the implementation of energy waste reduction programs, and to repeal certain provisions of H.B. 6 of the 133rd General Assembly. Sponsor Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) seeks to repeal and refund HB 6’s subsidies as well as the decoupling charges. This measure had its first hearing on February 17 in the House Public Utilities Committee.

HB 18 ENERGY LAW REPEAL (Lanese, L.) Introduced on February 4, 2021, this bill seeks to repeal the changes made by H.B. 6 of the 133rd General Assembly to the laws governing electric service, renewable energy, and energy efficiency and the changes made to other related laws. This measure had its first hearing on February 17 in the House Public Utilities Committee.

HB 43 PUBLIC MEETINGS (Sobecki, L., Hoops, J.) Introduced on February 4, 2021, this bill seeks to permanently authorize public bodies to meet via teleconference and video conference beyond the currently July 1, 2021 sunset. The House Government Oversight Committee heard this measure for the first time on February 11.

HB 47 CHARGING STATIONS (Loychik, M.) Introduced on February 4, 2021, this bill requires the Director of ODOT to establish an electric vehicle charging station grant rebate program and to make an appropriation. Note the companion SB 32 in the upper chamber. This bill had its second hearing in the House Transportation & Public Safety Committee on March 2.

HB 53 CONTRACT LIMITATIONS (Hillyer, B.) Introduced on February 4, 2021, this bill seeks to shorten the period of limitations for actions upon a contract; to make changes to the borrowing statute pertaining to applicable periods of limitations; and to establish a statute of repose for a legal malpractice action. Note the companion SB 13 in the upper chamber. This bill has been referred to the House Civil Justice Committee.

HB 57 ENERGY REPEAL (Skindell, M., O’Brien, M.) Introduced on February 4, 2021, this bill seeks to repeal the changes made by H.B. 6 of the 133rd General Assembly to the laws governing electric service, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. This measure had its first hearing on February 17 in the House Public Utilities Committee.

HB 58 UTILITY EARNINGS (Skindell, M., Denson, S.) Introduced on February 4, 2021, this bill pertains to the significantly excessive earnings determination for an electric distribution utility’s electric security plan. Note the similar HB 128 as well as SB 44 in the upper chamber. This House version introduced by Rep. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) and Rep. Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati) would not impact decoupling. This measure had its first hearing on February 17 in the House Public Utilities Committee.

HB 63 EMINENT DOMAIN (Cutrona, A., Stoltzfus, R.) This bill will amend the law regarding eminent domain and to declare an emergency. During sponsor testimony to the House Civil Justice Committee, Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus (R – Paris Twp.) noted the bill allows residents impacted by eminent domain to seek relief from township trustees, rather than via court procedures. This bill had its second hearing in the House Civil Justice Committee on March 2.

HB 66 PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS (Hoops, J.) Introduced on February 4, 2021, this bill requires the reporting of information on and legislative review of property tax exemptions. This bill had its first hearing in the House Ways & Means Committee on February 9, with the sponsor, Rep. Jim Hoops (R – Napoleon), noting this would require the Ohio Tax Commissioner’s biennial tax expenditure report to include data pertaining to local property tax exemption programs.

This measure passed the House on March 3 by unanimous vote; it has been referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

HB 74 TRANSPORTATION BUDGET (Oelslager, S.) Introduced February 9, 2021, this bill is the state’s $8.3B two-year transportation budget (State Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023).

The House Finance Committee in late February and early March accepted several changes to the initially proposed transportation budget.  The provisions of the substitute bill include the following:

  • More funding for public transit.  Doubles the proposed investment for public transit to $193.7MM during the biennium
  • Removed distracted driving language.  All distracted driving provisions were remove from the as-introduced bill’s provisions; these had been a priority for Governor DeWine
  • Dedicated funding for RTPOs.  Regional Transportation Planning Organizations (RTPOs) would be allocated $2.6MM/year rural transportation planning grant programs

The House Finance Committee cleared the bill on March 3, with the entire Ohio House approving it by an 87-8 vote on March 4.

On March 24, the Senate Transportation Committee reported out the bill, and the entire Senate passed the measure by unanimous vote.  (The House concurred on an 86-8 vote.)  The bill was signed into law by Governor DeWine on March 31; there were no line-item vetoes.  The appropriations go into effect immediately; the law change provisions go into effect 90 days hence. In its final form, the bill provided the following:

  • Increases State GRF for public transit by $13.85MM each year, thus totaling $37 MM for State Fiscal Year 2022 and SFY 2023;
  • Allows for state’s driver’s license renewal on an eight-year cycle, including online renewal options;
  • Requires ODOT to reopen certain closed weigh stations as overnight parking for commercial vehicles;
  • Makes the Cleveland metro’s RTA’s rail projects eligible for ODOT’s TRAC funding process;
  • Increases capital appropriations for the Public Works Commission’s Local Public Infrastructure by $2MM; and,
  • Directs OEPA to use $8MM from Volkswagen Clean Air Act Settlement for electronic vehicle charging station grant program.

HB 91 PUBLIC FACILITY PARTNERSHIPS (Patton, T.) Introduced on February 9, 2021, this bill would authorize certain public entities to enter into public-private initiatives with a private party through a public-private agreement regarding public facilities. This bill had its first hearing on March 10 in the House Infrastructure & Rural Development Committee.

HB 110 BUDGET BILL (Oelslager, S.) Introduced on February 16, 2021, this bill is the vehicle for Governor Mike DeWine’s executive budget proposal. The measure is now in the House Finance Committee, which is chaired by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Scott Oelslager (R-Canton).

The measure had its fourth House Finance Committee hearing on March 11.

Economic development items of note (updated as the Budget Bill progresses):

  • Name Change: The Ohio Development Services Agency will revert back to its Ohio Department of Development moniker.
  • Rural Industrial Park Loan Program: Although this program was reinstated with $25MM in the current state operating budget, HB 110 zeroes out this program in SFY 2023. As of this writing, the as-introduced version of HB 110 appropriates $10MM to this loan fund for SFY 2022 and zero ($0) in SFY 2023.

On April 13, the House Finance Committee offered its set of changes to the executive budget via a substitute bill; this version has had several hearings during the weeks of April 12 and 19 and includes the following relevant elements for economic development practitioners:

  • Transferring compliance responsibilities from the Ohio Attorney General to the Auditor of State as to recipients’ compliance with state economic development awards;
  • Folding in HB 2’s proposal for $170MM (State Fiscal Year 2022) and $20MM (SFY 2023) to expand residential broadband access;
  • Increasing funding to the Rural Industrial Park Loan program, by  $8MM, for SFY 2022 (with $18MM in total appropriations), and leaving the program zeroed-out in SFY 2023;
  • Including two (2) discrete appropriations to county land banks: $1M/SFY to the Lucas County Land Bank for its pilot Commercial Site Clean-up Program; and $250,000/SFY year to the Fulton County Land Bank for commercial / industrial building demolitions;
  • Creates a Main Street Job Recovery Program ($250,000/SFY) in ODSA for business and employment opportunities among LMI and prison re-entry populations;
  • ODOD to make available grants during SFY 2022 – in amounts of $10,000, $20,000, and $30,000 – for indoor entertainment venues, bars and restaurants, and lodging industry businesses, based in-part on demonstrated losses of revenue from COVID-19; and,
  • ODOD to make available grants during SFY 2022 – in amounts of $10,000 – for new businesses having commenced operations after January 1, 2020.

HB 118 WIND FARMS (Riedel, C., Stein, D.) Introduced on February 16, 2021, this bill requires inclusion of safety specifications in wind farm certificate applications, to modify wind turbine setbacks, and to permit a township referendum vote on certain wind farm and solar facility certificates. Note the companion SB 52 in the upper chamber.

In effect, this bill allows local voters to veto turbine projects approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board. Specifically, the measure requires a renewable developer to submit a plan to township trustees 30 days prior to submission to the Ohio Power Siting Board; township trustees could then approve the project or trigger a referendum process, whereby the siting question would advance to the ballot at the next primary or general election (so long as at least 8% of voters in the last gubernatorial election supported the referendum).

During its first hearing on February 23, House Public Utilities Committee members expressed concern the measure sends a bad message to the business community. Rep. Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) noted the plan would establish a “very dangerous precedent…. We’re saying that with this one energy generation – or in this case two – resources we’re going to have one set of rules,” she said. “Yet with all the other sources of energy generation we’re not. From a business point of view…we’re sending this anti-business message.”

On March 23, the House Public Utilities Committee held its third hearing on the measure, with significant written and in-person testimony submitted, including Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer, who noted, “This is a job killing bill.  I can’t put it any other way.”  Other opponent testimony was offered by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, economic development organizations, and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

HB 123 COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT AREAS (Fraizer, M., Cross, J.) Introduced on February 16, 2021, this bill modifies the law governing CRA areas and the terms under which property may be exempted in such areas.

The bill streamlines the process of creating a new CRA by eliminating Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) designation and agreement sign-off responsibilities. Instead, ODSA is charged with merely designing a model CRA Agreement for commercial or industrial projects. The bill increases abatement thresholds to 75% (from current 50%) equal to which a municipality or county can make awards without school board approval. Further, the bill eliminates the requirement that municipalities that impose an income tax share that revenue with school districts when payroll from new employees is greater than $1M/year.

During sponsor testimony to the House Ways & Means Committee, Rep. Mark Fraizer (R-Newark) said the bill aims to update the Community Reinvestment Area law enacted in 1994, noting the “overly bureaucratic nature of post-1994 CRAs with unnecessary State reporting.” He continued, describing the focus of his bill as “building consistency with economic development tools, aligning TIFs and CRA default tax incentive percentages to range from 75% to 100% based on school board approval[.]”

Rep. Troy said he chaired the committee in 1994 that processed the CRA law, and noted, “I don’t really see what’s broke here that needs to be fixed.”

During the House Ways & Means Committee’s second hearing on March 2, the sole proponent testimony heard was from Nate Green with the Montrose Group / Jobs Alliance, who advocated passage of the bill, noting Indiana does not impose restrictions on tax abatements as does Ohio under the CRA law. Rep. Daniel Troy (D-Willowick) questioned the school funding impacts of the bill, noting tax breaks would have the effect of shifting property tax burden on to residential homeowners.

Rep. Troy, involved in writing the 1994 CRA law changes, noted those changes were enacted to prevent enterprises from “shopping” for CRAs after their initial benefit period runs out; this bill, he described, removes the requirement that a business relocating into a CRA-abated site notify its former community in advance of the move. Mr. Green stated that shopping for CRA abatements is “not as big of an issue as it was before.”

Opponent testimony submitted on March 9 included significant comment from representatives of Ohio’s school districts, as well as testimony from the Medina County economic development team.

During interested party discussions with Bricker on March 11, Rep. Frazier noted the 75% threshold for requiring school board approval (increased from the current law’s 50%) is “non-negotiable; there will cease to be a bill if that figure changes.”

On April 13, the House Ways & Means Committee offered a substitute version of the bill, which makes the following changes:

  • Allows for limited home rule townships to establish CRAs (under current law, only municipalities and counties may do so);
  • Does not require the use of ODSA model agreements, but requires CRA agreements to include ODSA’s “magic language” from its model document; and
  • Allows for municipal-school district income sharing agreements when new payroll is more than $3MM/year, tied to inflation.

The bill is scheduled for its fifth committee hearing on April 20.

HB 128 ELECTRIC LAWS (Hoops, J., Stein, D.) This bill seeks to make changes regarding electric utility service law, to repeal the $150MM/year in nuclear payments under HB 6, and to provide refunds to retail electric customers in the state. Note the companion SB 44 in the upper chamber.

House Public Utilities Chair Rep. James Hoops (R-Napoleon) introduced this separate plan to repeal decoupling provisions and the threshold at which a utility achieves significantly excessive earnings (the so-called SEET) that should be refunded; these elements had both specifically benefited FirstEnergy.  The bill leaves intact the $20MM/year in annual solar subsidies provided under HB 6.

On March 10, the House voted 86-7 for the proposal, which now heads to the Senate for consideration.  (Interestingly, one of the House members voting to approve this HB 6 repeal measure was Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford), the former speaker who has pleaded not guilty to a racketeering charge amid the scandal.)

On March 24 the Senate voted to approve the measure; the House voted unanimously in concurrence.  The bill was signed into law by Governor DeWine on March 31, and it becomes effective 90 days hence (with revenue paid under the now-repealed HB 6 provisions to be refunded).

HB 133 TAX COMPLAINTS (Hillyer, B.) Introduced on February 17, 2021, this bill relates to commerce and property tax valuation complaints. This measure also seeks to repeal the version of R.C. 1322.24 taking effect October 9, 2021 that governs the granting of temporary permission to out-of-state mortgage lenders to originate loans in Ohio.

On March 17, this measure passed the House via unanimous vote; the bill has been referred to the Senate Financial Institutions & Technology Committee.

HB 143 CLEAN OHIO FUND (Hillyer, B.) Introduced on February 23, 2021, this bill seeks to make changes to the law relating to the Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund.  Note the companion SB 84 in the upper chamber.

This brownfield bill provides a dedicated funding source for the Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund (CORF). This is in response to the fact a dedicated funding source for brownfields was not included in the Governor’s introduced budget (HB 110). Sponsor Representative Hillyer (R – Uhrichsville) introduced this same legislation during the 133rd General Assembly.

HB 146 PREVAILING WAGE (Riedel, C., Manchester, S.) Introduced on February 23, 2021, this bill seeks to allow political subdivisions, special districts, and state institutions of higher education to elect to apply the Prevailing Wage Law to public improvement projects.

On March 3, this measure had its first hearing in the House Commerce & Labor Committee.

HB 155 LAND USE (Upchurch, T., Smith, M.) Introduced on February 25, 2021, this bill seeks to create the Land Reutilization Nuisance Abatement Program under R.C. Chapter 1724 (community improvement corporation statutes) to address nuisance structures by funding demolition, renovation, or remediation. Specifically, ODSA is charged with administering a $50MM grant program to county land banks for the abatement of nuisance structures on blighted parcels.

On April 21, this measure is scheduled for its second hearing in the House Economic & Workforce Development Committee.

HB 157 MUNICIPAL TAXES (Jordan, K., Edwards, J.) Introduced on February 25, 2021, this bill modifies municipal income tax employer withholding rules for COVID-19-related work-from-home employees.

During sponsor testimony before the House Ways & Means Committee on March 10, Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) and Rep. Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander) stated the bill repeals the temporary law change enacted last session (HB 197, 133rd General Assembly) as a COVID response. That bill provided that cities where the remote workers were employed before the pandemic would continue to receive income tax revenue for 30 days after the end of Ohio’s emergency health declaration, irrespective of the location of workers’ residences, where they have been working from home.

The bill is scheduled for its fifth hearing before the Committee on April 20, to further consider a substitute version of the bill, which sunsets the current emergency changes on municipal tax payments as of December 31, 2021 and clarifies that provisions of the bill are voluntary for businesses to follow.

HB 168 BUSINESS GRANTS (Fraizer, M., Loychik, M.) Introduced on March 2, this bill would provide grants to businesses, local fairs, child care providers, and veterans’ homes and to make an appropriation. Note the companion SB 109 in the upper chamber.

On March 24, this bill was reported out of the House Economic & Workforce Committee. 

On April 15, the measure was reported out by the House Finance Committee, which amended the bill to replace state GRF appropriation for two grant programs with appropriation from the Coronavirus Relief Fund. The measure was unanimously approved by the House the same day, and goes to the Senate.

HB 169 BUSINESS GRANTS (Cutrona, A., Swearingen, D.) Introduced on March 2, this bill would provide grants to bars and restaurants and the lodging industry and make an appropriation. Note the companion SB 108 in the upper chamber.

On March 24, this bill was reported out of the House Economic & Workforce Committee. 

On April 15, the measure was reported out by the House Finance Committee, which amended the bill to appropriate $10MM in Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars that were previously unspent for the purpose of helping liquor permit holders pay for renewal fees. The measure was unanimously approved by the House the same day, and goes to the Senate.

HB 174 AUTHORIZE INCOME TAX DEDUCTION FOR CERTAIN CAPITAL GAINS (Cross J, Lanese L) Introduced on March 3, this bill authorizes an income tax deduction for capital gains received by investors in certain Ohio-based venture capital operating companies.

During sponsor testimony in the House Economic & Workforce Development Committee on March 24, Rep. Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) described the goal of the measure as joining 22 other states that offer tax credits to venture capital firms to encourage economic expansion. Rep. Jon Cross (R-Kenton) noted the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a movement away from the coasts.

HB 228 MUNICIPAL CORPORATION TAX (Roemer, B.) Introduced on March 23, 2021, this bill would seek to make changes related to state-administered municipal net profits taxes.  The bill is scheduled for its second hearing before the House Ways & Means Committee on April 20.

HB 237 COUNTY RECORDERS (Hillyer, B.)  Introduced on March 31, this bill seeks to require counties to provide an electronic means of recording instruments and accessing them, to allow county recorders to charge a document preservation surcharge, to increase recording fees for certain instruments, and to make an appropriation.   The bill is scheduled for its first hearing before the House State & Local Government Committee on April 21.

HB 241 TAX FORECLOSURES (Patton, T.) Introduced on March 31, this bill makes changes to the law relating to tax foreclosures and county land reutilization corporations. Note the companion SB 112 in the upper chamber.  The bill has been referred to the House State & Local Government Committee.

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