The first six months of the 130th Ohio General Assembly was dominated by the state’s biennial operating budget. House Bill 59 contained significant policy changes including a tax reform package that allows a 50% deduction on the first $250,000 of business income for pass-through entities as well as a 10% income tax cut for all Ohioans phased in over the next three years.
The Ohio Senate added a provision that will allow BWC to move to a prospective premium payment system for employers giving one-time $900 million premium forgiveness to state-fund employers.
Additionally, Governor John Kasich proposed putting another $1 billion back into the hands of Ohio’s job creators by suggesting a dividend credit, to be paid this summer, immediately putting dollars back in the hands of small-business owners to hire additional employees, purchase new equipment and grow their businesses to improve Ohio’s economy. Additionally, funds have been dedicated for safety grants and will go a long way to help create even safer workplaces. Finally, the BWC board also approved aggregate premium rate reductions of 2 percent for private employers and 4 percent for public employers.
House Bill 138 addresses the state board of tax appeals and has bi-partisan sponsorship. It brings some process changes to the board that will allow small claims to be handled through mutually agreed mediation and taxpayers may represent themselves during the process. This bill will allow bigger claims to appear before the full board in hopes of continuing to address the significant backlog that remains.
House Bill 190 addresses the state’s prevailing wage related to public construction projects. The bill would increase the threshold to trigger prevailing wage on vertical construction, not roads or bridges, for state projects from $200,000 to $3.5 million. The bill will increase the number of viable bids for a project thus allowing more competition and hopefully driving down project costs saving taxpayer dollars.
House Bill 37 creates a shared work program to permit employers to reduce hours for employees, allows those employees to receive unemployment compensation and not result in layoffs. Employers must provide benefits to employees to qualify for the program. The program will receive federal funding for start-up and the first three years of the program and participating employers will be charged after.
One huge disappointment was the lack of movement of House Bill 5, which would have reformed Ohio’s municipal tax system. Despite the support of 30 different business groups and a number of NFIB members offering testimony in support of the bill, it failed to clear the Ohio House Ways and Means Committee before summer recess.
You can take a look at a detailed list of bills we are tracking on behalf of our members here.
You can also read about the tax changes that are part of the budget at: http://www.tax.ohio.gov/legal/OhioTaxLawChanges.aspx.
If you have any questions on any of these pieces of legislation or the legislative process, please do not hesitate to call the NFIB/Ohio office at 614-221-4107.
Jack Buschur of Buschur Electric in Sidney, Ohio advocates for municipal tax reform. NFIB/Ohio and the other business groups eagerly await House Bill 5 passing out of the Ohio House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee so it can be debated on the floor.