Ohio Municipal League Legislative Bulletin
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April 24, 2015
BUDGET PROPOSAL CLEARS OHIO HOUSE WITH ADDITIONAL ALTERATIONS
The Ohio House of Representatives took final action this week on their two year state biennial budget proposal, with the adoption of an omnibus amendment Monday by the Finance committee before voting the bill out of committee and on to the House floor. A Legislative Service Commission (LSC) synopsis for the issues included in omnibus amendment can be found HERE. Following Monday’s committee action, the full House approved the spending and policy measure on Wednesday by a vote of 63-35, sending it to the Ohio Senate where that body has already begun unpacking administrative and tax related budget issues and requests.
The omnibus amendment adopted Monday added and deleted numerous policy issues that had been part of the legislation the previous week. Included in the omnibus language were two areas of particular interest for Ohio cities and villages. Those changes include:
Unfortunately, language added by the Ohio House to the sub. HB64 last week which would require Ohio cities and villages that operate and receive revenue from red light cameras to report annually revenue amounts collected through the violations to the state Auditor so that those communities LGF distribution amounts can be reduced equal to the revenue generated and municipalities that fail to comply with the reporting requirements will forfeit all Local Government Fund (LGF) distribution revenue was not deleted and remains part of the state operating budget bill.
The approved House budget plan which would: provide a 6.3% across-the-board income tax cut which includes a permanent 75% small business tax deduction on the first $250,000 of income; lower the top rate to below 5% and provide more than $1.2 billion in tax relief over the biennium is now before the Ohio Senate. Although calculations are not available yet, one of the greatest concerns the league has with the changes in state tax policy is how those changes will affect the amount of revenue the state collects for the General Revenue Fund which in turn affects revenue available to fund the Local Government Fund which is 1.66% of state GRF revenues. As state GRF revenues decrease so does the LGF distribution levels which equals fewer resources for cities and villages to access and to provide the level of services residents and businesses deserve and expect without the continued need for higher local taxes.
Ohio Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) announced that the Senate will essentially be starting from scratch with the budget, considering changes made by the Ohio House to what Governor Kasich presented as his two year state spending blueprint while factoring revenue estimates generated by the Office of Budget and Management (OBM) compared to less conservative projections of current state revenue and future tax revenue estimates offered by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission (LSC). It is expected that the Senate Finance Committee will break down the various components of budget issues and will distribute study assignments to Finance subcommittees and other standing Senate committees. The list of agencies and subject matters that will be discussed in the various Senate committees can be found HERE. Senate leadership has announced that the Senate Finance Committee will reassemble the bill from the various committees tasked to study aspects of the legislation the week of May 18, holding full Senate Finance Committee hearings on what members of the Senate feel should be part of the state’s budget goals.
As with all state budget bills, once the Ohio Senate repackages and approves their budget suggestions into sub. HB64, the bill will be sent back to the Ohio House for their member’s consideration of changes made by their Senate colleagues. If precedent offers any insight on how the House will react to the bill returned to them by the Ohio Senate, a majority of members of the Ohio House will object to certain areas of the Senate plan and will call for a bi-cameral Conference Committee to be convened so that differences can be resolved between the two budget plans, in time to have the bill to the Governor by June 30 th.
OHIO ANOTHER STEP CLOSER TO ENACTING “REFRESHMENT AREAS”
On Wednesday, the Ohio Senate returned sub. HB47 to the Ohio House for their consideration of changes made to the legislation introduced by Rep. Blessing (R-Cincinnati) and Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) which would allow certain cities and townships to create districts where individuals will be exempt from open container restrictions, allowing communities that meet a population threshold to create outdoor refreshment areas.
Before the members of the Ohio Senate approved sub.HB47, the Senate State and Local Government committee amended the bill to incorporate changes made previously to the Senate companion bill introduced by Senators Seitz (R-Cincinnati) and Thomas (D-Cincinnati), sub. SB 95. Those changes include:
Unlike the budget bill, we do not anticipate a Conference Committee to be called to address disagreements between the version of HB47 that was sent over to the Ohio Senate for their consideration and what was returned as the substitute bill after the changes were made by the Senate. The legislation also contains an emergency clause which will cause the bill to go into effect upon the Governor’s signature, so there is no delay in enactment that could interfere with summertime community events.
Below is the committee schedule for next week. Have a safe weekend.~