Ohio Municipal League Legislative Bulletin
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May 24, 2013
INTERESTED PARTIES RECONVENE FOR MORE DISCUSSIONS ON HB 5
This past Tuesday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Peter Beck held a second interested parties meeting for dialogue and ideas to continue to be addressed surrounding issues contained in HB 5, the municipal income tax uniformity bill. The meeting this week was shorter than the meeting held the week before and primarily centered on seven issues in the bill which are changes being proposed to the net operating loss carry forward treatments by Ohio municipalities, pass-thru entities, changes being considered to the 12 day occasional entrant rule, residency requirements, the Municipal Tax Policy Board, throwback provision, and Problem Resolution Officer. Again, we have not been provided with the language the drafters of HB 5 have put together on four of the seven issues we continue to work through.
Because of time constraints on Tuesday’s meeting due to other legislative activity occurring that day, the conversation did not go into the other areas of HB 5 that remain unresolved and in need of additional “vetting” and study by legislators. Those items are: changes being proposed to the degree of local control a municipality would have over its tax administration, changes in the bill that dramatically broadens the definitions of “assessments” and “audits” and expands requirements for using certified mail, limiting municipalities current access to local civil and criminal court procedures for enforcement proceedings replacing the current system with Statutory liens, uniform treatment for consolidated returns, increased legal exposures to Tax Administrators and municipalities, gambling and lottery treatments, penalty and interest standardization, Ohio Business Gateway issues and several others.
As you can see, there remain many important areas yet to cover as the House Ways and Means Committee works through the complicated issues being presented in the current version of the legislation. We have received word from Chairman Beck’s office that there will not be an interested party meeting next week. During the course of the last two interested party meetings, there have been several requests made by legislators and some meeting participants for greater information on some topics that require outside research by opponents and proponents of the bill, in addition to legislative language that is being drafted by municipal officials to address certain treatments. During this brief break in meetings, the information is being compiled and ideas are being put to legislative language. We will be sure to alert our members of any new activity that will be coming on this topic.
SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE GEARS UP FOR BUDGET BILL HEARINGS
The full Senate Finance Committee held its first hearing in a couple of weeks on the proposed state operating budget. The committee heard a wide range of issues that groups would like considered ranging from education to the defunding of Planned Parenthood. After testimony, Chairman Oelslager said the committee will adopt a substitute Budget Bill this Tuesday, May 28 and will then take testimony on the substitute bill until Friday of next week.
The committee is scheduled to hear testimony on general government issues on Tuesday; Medicaid, health and human services, and education issues on Wednesday; taxation and education issues on Thursday; and any additional public testimony on Friday. The Senate will then probably adopt an omnibus amendment on June 4 that will address additional concerns that were brought to the Finance Committee’s attention though the testimony on the Sub. HB 59. The Senate floor vote will then take place on June 4 th or 5 th.
As the bill progresses you may want to discuss with your Statehouse legislative members a request from all local governments for an increase to the Local Government Fund. You can find a copy of a letter HERE that was submitted to the Ohio Senate, requesting the increase in this critical area of funding for Ohio municipalities. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO USE ITS CONTENT AS POINTS FOR YOUR DISCUSSION.
DOOR CLOSING ON OHIO INTERNET CAFES
On Wednesday, the Ohio Senate passed by a 27-6 vote HB 7, legislation that would essentially shutdown the internet or sweepstakes café industry in Ohio. Law enforcement groups, churches, veterans and fraternal organizations, and the casino industry have pushed to shutdown sweepstakes cafes, which typically sell phone cards or Internet time while offering customers the chance to win cash through computer games that resemble slot machines. Attorney General Mike DeWine has said the storefront establishments harbor other illegal activity, such as money laundering and drug trafficking. Upon passage by the Senate, the bill was sent to the Ohio House where they approved the bill’s treatment by the upper chamber and it is now waiting for the Governor’s signature.
ANTI ANNEXATION PROPOSAL IN THE WORKS
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported on May 23 that Rep. Peter Stautberg ( R- Cincinnati) has announced that a bill is being drafted dealing with annexations that he expects to be introduced soon. The bill would deal with the subject of requiring townships and other public entities to be considered as landowners in Type II expedited annexations. Sound familiar? This was the issue addressed in the last General Assembly in a bill sponsored by Rep. Schuring. As you may recall that legislation ultimately passed but did not affect Type II annexation owner procedures. We will keep you apprised of when the bill is “dropped” and receives a bill number.
HOUSE DEMOCRAT CAUCUS TRANSITIONS LEADERSHIP
This past week, the House democrat caucus made changes to their leadership line-up for the remainder of the 130 th General Assembly. In her new positions, Rep. Tracy Heard (D-Columbus)was elected minority leader of the Ohio House of Representatives. The Columbus Democrat moved up two slots from minority whip, following the decisions of Rep. Armond Budish (D-Beachwood) and Rep. Matt Szollosi (D-Oregon) to step down from leadership and pursue other posts. Also moving up two positions to assistant minority leader is former Athens City Council member Rep. Debbie Phillips (D-Athens). The two new members of the Democratic team are former Toledo City Council member Rep. Mike Ashford (D-Toledo), as minority whip, and Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain), the assistant minority whip. We want to wish these legislators the best of luck in their new roles.