Ohio Statehouse Update: This Week in Ohio -- January 30, 2015
Governor previews upcoming budget
This week Gov. Kasich provided a snapshot of what to expect in his upcoming biennial budget proposal that will be rolled out on Feb. 2. Continuing themes from previous budget proposals, the governor highlighted tax reform, job placement and retention, and support for low-income Ohioans among the policy areas that his proposal will address.
Gov. Kasich’s budget will propose eliminating income taxes for small businesses with annual gross receipts of $2 million or less, which includes sole proprietorships and pass-through entities, such as partnerships, Subchapter S corporations and limited liability companies. The governor said this will free up needed capital for Ohio’s small businesses to better leverage the expanding economic recovery, make new investments, and hire more employees.
The governor will also propose doubling the personal income tax exemption for low to middle income workers. Ohioans earning less than $40,000 per year would see the exemption increase from $2,200 to $4,000 in 2015 and those earning between $40,000 and $80,000 per year would see it increase from $1,950 to $2,850. In 2013 the exemption was $1,700 for all incomes.
The proposal will allocate $310 million in existing federal and state funding to create a framework for a comprehensive case management and employment initiative that can wrap unique collections of services around individuals based on their needs, with the goal of expanding the approach to all individuals on public assistance by July 1, 2016.
While the framework for the governor’s budget proposal will be released on Feb. 2, legislation containing the proposal will be introduced in mid-February. The McDonald Hopkins Government Affairs Group will release an Ohio Statehouse Update on the budget on Feb. 2.
State of the State to be held in Wilmington
Following his tradition of taking the State of the State address on the road, Gov. Kasich on Jan. 30 announced Wilmington would be the destination for this year’s speech on Feb. 24.
“The story of Wilmington is, in many ways, the story of Ohio. Hit with hard times and an unemployment rate of 14.4 percent just four years ago, the people of Wilmington and Clinton County came together and persevered, attracting new business, growing their economy and reducing unemployment to just 5.8 percent today,” said the governor’s press secretary in a release.
The City of Wilmington, located in Clinton County, is in newly elected Speaker Cliff Rosenberger’s district. “I would like to thank Governor Kasich for his proposal to hold the State of the State address in Wilmington,” said Rosenberger. “It will be an honor to showcase Wilmington and the southwest Ohio region.”
The State of the State moves to Southern Ohio for the first time, with previous addresses being given in Steubenville, Lima, and Medina.
House rolls out priority legislation
House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and members of the Republican caucus discussed the priorities that will guide the 131st General Assembly at a press conference on Jan. 28.
Rep. Rosenberger introduced “Ohio 2020,” a series of long-term objectives focused on four policy areas: Competitiveness, Energy, Education, and Health. Ohio 2020 provides a framework for members of the caucus to work together and to introduce ideas that will make Ohio stronger.
The following bills were among the first to be introduced this General Assembly:
Workforce grants: Sponsored by Reps. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) and Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville), House Bill 1 would establish the Workforce Grant Program, and provide an income tax credit equal to 25 percent of the student loan payments a grant recipient makes per year. The bill has been referred to the House Economic and Workforce Development Committee.
Community schools: Sponsored by Reps. Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) and Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson), House Bill 2 would make changes to regulations on the sponsorship and management of community schools, often referred to as charter schools. Among the provisions included, the legislation would require the school sponsor to annually submit a report describing the amount and type of expenditures made to provide oversight and technical assistance to each community school it sponsors. The bill has been referred to the Education Committee.
Tax expenditures: Sponsored by Rep. Terry Boose (R-Norwalk), House Bill 9 would create a Tax Expenditure Review Committee for the purpose of periodically reviewing existing and proposed tax expenditures. The bill was referred to the Ways and Means Committee.
Business fees: Sponsored by Reps. Tim Derickson (R-Oxford) and Mark Romanchuk (R-Mansfield), House Bill 3 would reduce the new business filing fee placed on entrepreneurs.
Additional policies the caucus said it plans to address include concerns pertaining to water quality and nutrient management practices, ensuring Ohioans have access to safe, reliable, and affordable energy, and access to affordable healthcare.
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