The Ohio Legislature has had a very busy first year of the 134th General Assembly. NFIB issued seven “Key Vote” cards on bills on a variety of issues, many in response to the pandemic, all were signed into law by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. These seven votes are in addition to the nearly 100 total bills we are monitoring.
Senate Bills 108 and 109 – NFIB quarterly member surveys showed the economic effects of government closures and policies remained a top concern for our members in 2021. NFIB was proud to champion the use of federal stimulus dollars to provide our members with the opportunity to receive state grants. Senate Bills 108 and 109 provided over $300 million in monies for general business, bars, restaurants, lodging, entertainment venues, and for the first-time new businesses (those that opened their doors in 2020 or later).
Senate Bill 18 – NFIB championed efforts to conform Ohio’s tax code with changes made at the federal level to ensure the deductibility of Paycheck Protection Loans (PPP). Absent the key provisions in Senate Bill 18, our members who utilized PPP would have experienced increased tax liability. Additionally, this bill addresses a change in interpretation by the Ohio Department of Taxation that subjected the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation rebates to the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT).
House Bill 168 – NFIB led the initiative encouraging legislators and the administration to use federal stimulus dollars to repay over $1.4 billion in loans taken to pay unemployment compensation claims. Ohio had to borrow early during the pandemic and had House Bill 168 not been enacted, employers faced an additional $100 million in increased taxes, at a time when businesses struggled to remain in operation. Ohio has now built up a positive balance of over $600 million.
House Bill 75 – Several positive reforms to Ohio’s monopolistic system were included in House Bill 75. The statute of limitations to file an occupational disease claim is now synced with all other types of workplace injury claims at one year. Additionally, a claimant will now need to demonstrate new and changed circumstances in a claim before refiling a request for permanent total disability. These claims result in lifetime benefits and by simply filing the same application in hopes of being awarded by a sympathetic hearing officer.
Senate Bill 13 – Small businesses need certainty and predictability when it comes to the legal landscape. Our members do not typically have the resources to retain in-house legal counsel, so when faced with a legal challenge it can be very expensive to combat. Senate Bill 13 brings the statute of limitations on a written contract down to six years, from eight (and down from 15 just a few short years ago). This shortened tail reduces recordkeeping and frees up resources to be spent on growing your business, not reserving money for potential liability.
House Bill 2 – NFIB strongly supported the efforts to bring broadband to all Ohioans. House Bill 2 provides incentives for private broadband carriers to connect more Ohioans. The bill safeguards taxpayer dollars by requiring certain benchmarks are achieved. We learned the importance of broadband when many were working remotely. To compete in a global market, our members need high-speed internet availability.
House Bill 215 – NFIB helped craft and lead the legislative and executive efforts to ultimately see the enactment of the Business Fairness Act, House Bill 215. This bill gets the government out of picking winners and losers. In March of 2020, some businesses were deemed essential while others were non-essential. This forced some businesses, typically smaller retailers, to shutter while others, typically big-box stores selling the same wares to be open. House Bill 215 allows any business the opportunity to meet any safety or health protocols and remain open.
NFIB surveyed members in Ohio on hiring, wages, and supply chain issues. The results can be found here.