Legislative Updates: News from the State House – July 2018

Legislative Updates: News from the State House – July 2018
Wayne Lawrence

Wayne Lawrence, Weiss Movers

ATTORNEY GENERAL
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, along with 41 other attorneys general, announced a $100 million settlement with Citibank for fraudulent conduct involving the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, a key interest rate with widespread impact on global markets. Most of the settlement funds — about $95 million — will be used to reimburse governments and not-for-profit organizations that were affected by the conduct and had Libor-linked swaps and other financial contracts with Citibank.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
JobsOhio is achieving “top-tier performance outcomes” compared to other economic development organizations in the surrounding region and “competitive peers” in a variety of states including New York, Texas, California and the Southeastern U.S., according to a performance assessment by McKinsey officially released recently.

 EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT
The state unemployment rate for May remained at April’s 4.3 percent, according to data released by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Friday, but nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased by 22,600. The number of unemployed workers also increased from April to May, going from 249,000 to 250,000, but there has been a decrease of 42,000 in the past 12 months. The May 2017 unemployment rate was 5.1 percent.

ENERGY
Rural Ohio property owners packed the Senate Finance Hearing Room on Wednesday to express their ardent opposition to provisions of HB114 (Blessing) reducing wind turbine setbacks.

PUBLIC SAFETY
The U.S. Fire Administration points out that recent federal tax reform legislation — the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — includes incentives that make it more affordable for small business owners to install fire sprinklers. Fire sprinkler systems can reduce the spread of fire, heat and smoke in a building and contain the fire until the fire department arrives. More information about the available incentives provided in the tax code can be found online at https://nfsa.org/taxreform/ .

TAXATION
The latest version of legislation to change how sales tax is collected for hotel bookings through the likes of Expedia and Travelocity sparked debate in a House committee Tuesday on whether it proposed simple parity among sellers or selective expansion of the tax to service fees. In HB571, Rep. Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) is proposing that online travel companies pay sales and lodging taxes based on the total price the customer pays for the room, not the wholesale rate the companies pay to the hotels.

The U.S. Supreme Court narrowly ruled Thursday to overturn a 26-year-old precedent preventing states from requiring that out-of-state online sellers collect and remit sales taxes. In the 5-4 ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair, justices overruled the court’s prior holdings in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota and National Bellas Hess v. Department of Revenue of Illinois. The precedent in those previous cases had prevented states from requiring out-of-state sellers without a physical presence to collect sales tax. The Trump administration and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, as well as the National Governors Association (NGA), National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and other representatives of government jurisdictions had filed briefs urging justices to overturn Quill.

TRANSPORTATION/INFRASTRUCTURE
The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission (OTIC) approved eight resolutions, including a nearly $6.3 million contract for Suburban Maintenance and Construction Inc. of North Royalton. The company will repair and rehabilitate the ramp bridge at milepost 218.7 and replace the mainline bridges over Mill Creek Bikeway at milepost 223 in Mahoning County. The commission also awarded a more than $5.5 million contract to Columbus-based Kokosing Construction Company Inc. to replace the Perrysburg-Holland Road Bridge at milepost 59 and repair and rehabilitate the Hessville Road Bridge deck at milepost 84.4 over the Ohio Turnpike in Lucas and Sandusky counties.

WORKFORCE
Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) reports that during the first year of its Workplace Initiative of Ohio (WIO), 818 OOD job seekers were placed with employers across the state. This is a 37 percent increase, or approximately 220 persons, over the first-year goal, OOD noted. WIO is a three year partnership between OOD and the Poses Family Foundation (PFF) with a goal of placing 2,100 OOD job seekers.

 

About Wayne Lawrence

Wayne Lawrence is Vice-President of Weiss Movers and Storage. Wayne is WHACC's Board Chair and on the Advocacy committee