Legislative

State Issues--Legislative Update July 7, 2017

The Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate have begun their summer recess until  after the Labor Day holiday. 

House Bill 49 (GRF Budget Bill)  Rep. Smith

Vetos and Overrides- The General Revenue Bill passed both the Ohio House and the Ohio Senate after differences were resolved in a conference committee on June 29, 2017.  The Governor signed the bill and vetoed 47 items.  On Thursday, July 6th, the House overrode 11 of the Governor’s 47 vetoes of the biennial budget, leaving open the ability to override other vetoes this fall.  The Ohio Senate is undecided on their next session date as the caucus takes a close look at not only the governor’s vetoes, but at the House overrides and have a thorough discussion about the next steps. While most of these overrides dealt with the issues around Medicaid, the one item of importance to counties and transit authorities was also overridden; the proposed requirement that the administration work with federal CMS to allow counties and transit authorities to apply a franchise tax locally on managed care plans. This would allow counties and transit authorities to recoup $207 million that would have been lost with the repeal of the sales tax on managed care plans. While not out of the woods yet, the override at least requires the administration to work with CMS on allowing counties and transit authorities to move forward with a tax beginning in July 2018. In the interim, the budget provides for continuation funding through December 31, 2017 of current revenue amounts and then provides funds “as needed” based on tax base and rate beginning January 1, 2018.

Sales Tax Increase & Expansion - the Governor’s proposed sales tax increase and expansion to professional services was NOT included in the final version of the budget. This now makes 4 budgets where the Governor’s tax shift to consumption taxes has been rebuffed by the General Assembly.

Centralized Collection of Municipal Income Taxes through the Ohio Business Gateway- effective January 1, 2018 businesses will be able to file and pay their employees income taxes through the Ohio Business Gateway, rather than to each municipal entity/taxing authority as is done now. This was included in the final version of the budget, however the Ohio Municipal League has already announced their intentions to file legal action against the plan based on violation of Home Rule provisions of the Ohio Constitution.

House Bill 121 (Piping Materials) Rep. Edwards

The bill requires a public authority to consider all piping materials that meet the engineering specifications for a state funded water or waste water project.  There is a companion bill in the Ohio Senate, SB 95, sponsored by Senator Tehar.  ACEC Ohio testified against the bill on May 9, 2017, see   ACEC Ohio Testimony on HB 121. We continue to have meetings with the Chairwoman, and members of the committee along with the bill's sponsor to discuss our concerns with the bill.  Our position is to remove the professional engineer from the middle of this bill as engineering judgement should not be legislated. The bill is pending in the House State and Local Government Committee, it has had three hearings. 

Senate Bill 113 (Vehicle Registration Fee) Sen. Coley

The bill would increase vehicle registration fees and create a fuel tax cut that registrants would receive an identification card to swipe at the gas pump that would exempt them from the 28-cent-per-gallon Motor Fuel Tax. ACEC Ohio is an interested party to this bill and is advocating for a more comprehensive funding package addressing long term funding needs of the State. The bill is pending in the Senate Ways and Means Committee, with only sponsor testimony being presented.

House Bill 75 (License by Endorsement) Rep. Gavarone and Rep. Merrin

The bill allows for a "License by Endorsement" for active duty military and their spouses for a 12-month period in Ohio, if they have a valid license from another state. The bill refers to all licensed professionals, except attorneys.  The bill has been pending in the Ohio House Armed Services, Veterans and Homeland Committee with no hearings since March. ACEC Ohio is an interested party.

Senate Bill 6 (Bridge Partnership Program) Sen. Hoagland

The bill extends the Ohio Bridge Partnership Program through the end of FY 2019 and requires the Director of ODOT to submit a report recommending ways to continue to fund the program.  The bill was amended into the Transportation Budget Bill (HB 26) and the language has been enacted.

 

Legislative Update May 26, 2017

House Bill 49 (GRF Budget Bill)  Rep. Smith

The bill is currently being heard in the Ohio Senate with the goal of a substitute bill being introduced in the Senate Finance Committee by June 14, 2017, and a vote of the full Senate by June 21, 2017 allowing just over a week for a conference committee to resolve differences.

ACEC Ohio continues to work with the Ohio Services Industry Coalition (a group of over 25 service industry organizations) to voice opposition to any sales tax on professional services. OSIC delivered a letter to the members of the Ohio Senate encouraging members to support the House decision to remove the sales tax on professional services.  See OSIC Letter 5.16.17

In addition, discussion is being held on the current $250,000 mark on which a small business does not pay any income tax, then paying 3% above that amount.  It seems the estimates at the time  have been off substantially in terms of what it is costing the state in revenues.  There is considerable speculation that the legislature may “tweak” this somehow, either lowering the exempt amount, or taxing the first $250,000 at a lower rate. As information becomes available we will keep you updated.

House Bill 121 (Piping Materials) Rep. Edwards

The bill requires a public authority to consider all piping materials that meet the engineering specifications for a state funded water or waste water project.  There is a companion bill in the Ohio Senate, SB 95, sponsored by Senator Tehar.  ACEC Ohio testified against the bill on May 9, 2017, see   ACEC Ohio Testimony on HB 121 We continue to try to remove the professional engineer from the middle of this bill, and participated in an interested party meeting this week.  There was no consensus among the interested parties during this meeting, with most of the opponents suggesting the bill is unnecessary.

Senate Bill 113 (Vehicle Registration Fee) Sen. Coley

The bill would increase vehicle registration fees and create a fuel tax cut that registrants would receive an identification card to swipe at the gas pump that would exempt them from the 28-cent-per-gallon Motor Fuel Tax. ACEC Ohio is an interested party to this bill and is advocating for a more comprehensive funding package addressing long term funding needs of the State. The bill has been referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee, no hearings have been held.

Senate Bill 6 (Bridge Partnership Program) Sen. Hoagland

The bill extends the Ohio Bridge Partnership Program through the end of FY 2019 and requires the Director of ODOT to submit a report recommending ways to continue to fund the program.  The bill is pending in the Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety Commitee, no hearings have been held. ACEC Ohio is an interested party.

House Bill 75 (License by Endorsement) Rep. Gavarone and Rep. Merrin

The bill allows for a "License by Endorsement" for active duty military and their spouses for a 12-month period in Ohio, if they have a valid license from another state. The bill refers to all licensed professionals, except attorneys.  The bill has been pending in the Ohio House Armed Services, Veterans and Homeland Committee with no hearings since March. ACEC Ohio is an interested party.

 

Legislative Update April 28, 2017 

House Bill 26 (Transportation Budget)   Rep. McColley

To make appropriations for programs related to transportation and public safety for the biennium beginning July 1, 2017, and ending June 30, 2019, and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of those programs.

The Governor signed House Bill 26 on March 31, 2017 but vetoed 4 items:

1)       Smart Transportation Advisory Team
2)       Frequency of Bridge Inspection
3)       ODOT install interchanges on limited access highways every 4 miles
4)       Watercraft Observation

See HB26 veto message here.

House Bill 49 (GRF Budget Bill)  Rep. Smith

On Tuesday this week, a substitute budget bill was introduced in the Ohio House Finance Committee.  The House removed the tax code changes including the sales tax on professional services identified in Governor's budget proposal, however, expanded the sales tax to travel and hotel on-line services. 

ACEC Ohio continues to work with the Ohio Services Industry Coalition (a group of over 25 service industry organizations) to voice opposition to any sales tax on professional services of which the on-line travel and hotel services are a member.  OSIC delivered a letter to Finance Chairman Smith (that will be a part of the record) asking this language be removed because of the detrimental effects it will have on this industry, continuing to present a unified front.  We don’t know what will happen but are optimistic that they won’t go after only one industry. OSIC Letter 4.28.17.

In addition, discussion is being held on the current $250,000 mark on which a small business does not pay any income tax, then paying 3% above that amount.  It seems the estimates at the time  have been off substantially in terms of what it is costing the state in revenues.  There is considerable speculation that the legislature may “tweak” this somehow, either lowering the exempt amount, or taxing the first $250,000 at a lower rate. As information becomes available we will keep you updated.

House Bill 121 (Piping Materials) Rep. Edwards

The bill requires a public authority to consider all piping materials that meet the engineering specifications for a state funded water or waste water project.  There is a companion bill in the Ohio Senate, SB 95, sponsored by Senator Tehar.  ACEC Ohio has met with both sponsors to discuss our  Letter on HB 121.     ACEC Ohio has asked each sponsor to remove reference to the engineering consultant and the expectation to review ALL piping material in state funding water or waste water jobs. HB 121 received proponent testimony this week, the bill will not be heard next week but ACEC Ohio plans to testify if hearings continue on the bill. It is our understanding that Representative Edwards has asked that HB 121 be part of an omnibus amendment to the GRF Budget Bill (HB 49), we will know more next week when the Ohio House votes on the budget bill.

Senate Bill 113 (Vehicle Registration Fee) Sen. Coley

This week, Senator Bill Coley (R-Liberty Twp.) introduced Senate Bill 113, which would increase vehicle registration fees and create a fuel tax cut that registrants would receive an identification card to swipe at the gas pump that would exempt them from the 28-cent-per-gallon Motor Fuel Tax. ACEC Ohio is an interested party to this bill and is advocating for a more comprehensive funding package addressing long term funding needs of the State.
 

Residency Bill (HB 180 from last session) update:

The state (under the Attorney General’s office) has filed an appeal of the decision of a Cuyahoga County court that ruled 131-HB180 as unconstitutional because if violates home rule.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Michael Russo sided with Cleveland, granting a permanent injunction against the enforcement of the law. Russo wrote that the General Assembly did not have the authority to enact the law because it only seeks to dictate the terms by which municipalities may contract for workers within their region, not provide for the comfort, health, safety and welfare of employees. He also said the law violates home rule powers.

The city of Cleveland sued after Gov. John Kasich signed HB180 (Maag), which banned municipalities from requiring architects and contractors to hire to a certain percentage of local residents for the construction of public projects. Opponents of the law said the measures allow cities to make sure local workers are getting jobs on local construction projects, while supporters said such laws raise costs and hurt competition.

ACEC Ohio's legal counsel filed an Amicus Brief as part of this appeal on Monday, April 24, 2017. ACEC Ohio Amicus Brief 4.24.17

 

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