Initiating Tax Reform and Providing Support for Ohio's Vital Small Business Sector
In an effort to drive business to Ohio and continue the significant economical success the state has experienced over the last few years, the final budget proposal cuts taxes by a total of more than $1.8 billion over the next two years and includes an across-the-board 6.3 percent income tax decrease beginning in TY' 15. The proposal also lowers the top rate to below 5 percent—the lowest it's been since 1982. Furthering that trend, and prioritizing small businesses, the bill institutes a 75-percent income tax deduction on the first $250,000 of income in FY' 2016 and a 100-percent deduction in FY' 2017,and levies a flat 3 percent rate above that. Am. Sub. House Bill 64 also creates the 2020 Tax Policy Study Committee, which will study various tax initiatives with the goal of researching and discussing forward-looking, comprehensive tax reform without the time constraints of a budget.
Providing a Quality Education Through the passage of this legislation, no Ohio school will receive a reduction in state funding from 2015 for fiscal year 2016. Most schools will not receive a reduction in fiscal year 2017. The budget appropriates an additional $850 million in state aid to Ohio's schools. Additionally, the bill allocates funding to make up for dollars lost because of the TPP and KWH reimbursement phase-out for fiscal year 2016.
Making Higher Education More Affordable Am. Sub. H.B. 64 gives students more opportunities to obtain a degree faster and cheaper. The bill freezes tuition rates for state institutions over the next two years. It also prohibits state institutions of higher education from charging an overload fee for taking more than a certain number of credit hours. State colleges and universities will also be required to develop and implement a plan to reduce the cost of earning a degree by 5 percent. Additionally, colleges participating in College Credit Plus will be required to offer an associate degree pathway.
Crafting Initiatives that Help Those Who Need Medical Assistance Am. Sub. H.B. 64 works to help individuals move up and off government assistance in order to have a better quality of life by implementing cost transparency measures in Medicaid and requiring the Department of Medicaid to seek waivers to allow for health savings accounts. With a focus on curtailing the drug epidemic, the bill also earmarks $500,000 to improve access for county health departments and first responders to naloxone, an anti-opiate drug that reverses the effects of an overdose.
Supporting Those Who Have Served Honorably The legislation creates the Ohio Military Facilities Commission, which would be tasked with providing state funding to military installations in Ohio, for $5 million over the biennium, to ensure that they are prepared for the upcoming BRAC. Additionally, the bill requires DAS and ODOT to establish a veteran-friendly business procurement program.
Helping Local Governments In order to ensure that Ohio's local governments have the resources they need for the communities they serve, this budget makes various allocations for this purpose. For example, the bill establishes the Local Government Safety Capital Grant Program with a $20 million allocation over the next two years. The bill also increases the percent of GRF tax revenues transferred to the Public Library Fund for local libraries.
Additional provisions in the budget include: Extending "safe harbor" provisions to teachers and students through FY'17 Appropriating funds for the Healthier Buckeye Grant Pilot Program Placing a tax on cigarettes at 35 cents a pack—ensuring that Ohio's tobacco tax amount is on par with neighboring states. Providing $11 million over the biennium to expand the creation of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) drug court program dedicating $13.4 million per year for a Medicaid managed care organization to cover community health worker services for enrollees who are pregnant, or capable of becoming pregnant, who live in a community identified by the Ohio Department of Health as having a high rate of infant mortality.
Thank you for visiting the website for State Representative Nan Baker. I would appreciate any comments you would like to offer. You can send your comments directly to me at email@example.com As I continue to say . . . .
SUCCESSFUL JOB BILLS
AND SAVING YOU TAX DOLLARS
1. State Operating Budget - This was a tough budget given we inherited an $8 billion financial hole caused by the loss of Obama stimulus funds and a decline in revenue because of job loss. Since its introduction in March, the House developed a number of significant changes to the proposed budget. These changes were instrumental in helping the budget retain vital services while continuing to improve our job market and economy. As you recall, Westlake and Rocky River schools were destined for a 72% and 79% state-aid cut and I was able to work with our five superintendents and representatives at the House to cap the loss of state-aid to 20%. Representatives Dovilla and Anielski were also very engaged in this effort. Senator Patton enhanced the budget further with his colleagues in the Senate and restored all state-aid except for the Tangible Personal Property Tax reimbursement. Given the state of the economy, everyone was asked to tighten their belt. We felt this was a reasonable compromise. On the local government front, the House made cuts to state agencies and made other adjustments in order to provide access to $45 million per year to local governments as they show ways to improve collaboration with other cities to save costs. Our five cities have an outstanding reputation as being trail blazers of innovation; the St. John Medical Dispatch Center is a great example. Possible uses for this funding could potentially include purchasing equipment, covering personnel costs, as well as other cooperative agreements. PASSED INTO LAW
2. Final Roll Back of the Personal Income Tax Reduction - Since 2006, 4% each year (except 2010) the collection of income taxes has been reduced. We were the 7th highest taxed state and we are now the 16th highest tax state. Although there is still more room for improvement, we are certainly moving in the right direction. This means more money for businesses to invest and more money in your paycheck. PASSED INTO LAW
3. InvestOhio - Tax Incentive To Spur Small Business Investment - As part of the 2011 budget, this program is aimed at spurring investments by linking the small businesses with the money needed to grow and create jobs. The goal is to generate at least $1 billion in new private investment by 2013 and lead to 30,000 new jobs. This bill permits investors to collect an income tax credit for investment of up to $10 million in eligible small businesses. Investors must keep the investment for at least two years. The tax credit on personal income will generally be equal to 10 percent of the investment. Businesses receiving investment must spend the money within six months, putting it into one of five categories such as compensation for new or retained employees, real estate in Ohio and equipment. PASSED INTO LAW
4. Small Business Resource Portal - Ohio Business Gateway - We are currently working with the Department of Administrative Services to enhance the online Small Business Resource Center on the Ohio Business Gateway. We have met several times with different business advocates such as the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Council of Small Enterprises (COSE), Society of CPAs and many business owners to create a user friendly online business center. This business center will offer a source of valuable information by businesses in Ohio or those looking to relocate. ACTIVELY IN PROGRESS
5. Ohio Third Frontier - Continued Innovation Program Creating Opportunity - Passed by the voters in 2010, the Ohio Third Frontier is an unprecedented commitment to create new technology-based products, companies, industries and jobs extended through 2015. The voters overwhelmingly supported that technology and innovation will lead to economic prosperity both today and for future generations. ACTIVELY IN PROGRESS
6. Workforce Development - As Ohio is attracting new companies and fostering the growth of existing companies, a critical component to job growth is workforce development. It is clear that a critical focus for improving Ohio's economy is a well-prepared and educated workforce. It was a privilege to be part of the newly created Workforce Development Committee that traveled to Ohio University, Miami University, Bowling Green and Lorain County Community College. We heard from eighty-five witnesses encompassing nearly twenty hours of discussion with the committee. I'll keep you posted as to our progress on this front. ACTIVELY IN PROGRESS
7. Clean Ohio Council - The Clean Ohio Council was created to select projects that will receive grants and low-interest loans from the Clean Ohio Fund. It is a privilege to serve as one of 15 council members. It's purpose is to restore, protect, and connect Ohio's important natural and urban places by cleaning up brownfields and encourage redevelopment and revitalize communities. ACTIVELY IN PROGRESS
8. House Bill 1 - JobsOhio, Restructuring of the Ohio Department of Development - The Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) is the top agency for fostering a climate for job creation. Part of this effort means ensuring that the department is responsive to business and for business leaders to have direct access to provide feedback to the agency without enduring excessive bureaucracy. JobsOhio has recently been launched and Tom Waltermire with Team NEO representing North East Ohio is our contact. PASSED INTO LAW
9. House Bill 2 - Performance Audits for State Agencies - This House Bill will grant the Auditor of State explicit authority to conduct performance audits on state agencies. In these tough economic times, it is vital for our economic success that we are not wasting any valuable resources. PASSED INTO LAW
10. House Bill 3 - Repealing the Estate Tax - Ohio is only one of thirteen states that levies an estate or inheritance tax on their citizens. All of your life you pay taxes and Ohio taxes you again upon your death. The estate tax threshold is $338,333.00. This tax affects small business, middle class families and family farms. For small businesses, inventory, equipment and a building could easily add up to more than $338,333.00. This repeal allows Ohio citizens to plan for their future without worrying whether their heirs will receive their assets. It encourages many people to stay in Ohio and keep their businesses and investments in Ohio. For planning purposes, this bill, now part of the state operating budget, is scheduled to take effect January 2013. PASSED INTO LAW
11. House Bill 18 - Vacant Property/Job Creation Bill - This House Bill gives an incentive to businesses that are out of space, adding new employees and need to relocate. This bill will give the business owner an incentive to stay in Ohio, or if out of state, come to Ohio and consider locating to a vacant building. The mass exodus of large and small corporations from Ohio has left behind abandoned and vacant buildings dotting urban, suburban, and rural landscapes. New and expanding companies could revitalize these buildings. By occupying buildings where businesses have left, companies will be entering economies full of citizens that need jobs and are ready to work. Areas with high percentages of vacant or abandoned properties are also areas that have high unemployment rates. Companies expanding into these areas can revitalize the communities and make the local economy enticing for more businesses to enter, as well. Occupying previously abandoned buildings also raises the property value and therefore local governments receive a higher return on property taxes. This bill has passed unanimously in the House Ways and Means Committee by both Democrats and Republicans on December 7, 2011 and passed overwhelmingly by 82 bi-partisan votes in the House of Representatives on December 14, 2011. Unanimously passed out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee on March 15, 2012 and passed unanimously out of the Senate Chamber in April 2012.
SIGNED INTO LAW BY GOVERNOR KASICH MAY, 2012.
12. House Bill 58 - Creates a New Refundable Job Retention Tax Credit - Companies eligible for the tax credit are those with at least 1,000 employees that agree to make $25 million in capital improvements over three consecutive years. This bill was instrumental in keeping American Greetings in Northeast Ohio after the company said it was considering moving its headquarters to Illinois. We look forward to their grand opening in Westlake. PASSED INTO LAW
13. House Bill 94 - Small Business Regulatory Reforms - This is a House Bill that Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor spearheaded. It was a privilege to have this bill presented in our Economic and Small Business Development Committee. This bill will assist businesses that often struggle to remain apprised of and compliant with the ever-changing regulatory environment. A rule-making agency is required to conduct a cost-benefit analysis and regulatory flexibility analysis on how proposed rules might impact business. Created in this legislation is the Common Sense Initiative (CSI) Office. There will be a Business Ombudsperson that will insure that regulations pass the common sense test. PASSED INTO LAW
14. House Bill 133 - Responsible Oil and Gas Development - The development of Marcellus and Utica shale offers the State of Ohio exciting new opportunities for oil and gas production, economic development and job growth. The creation of the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission will oversee and coordinate the leasing of land owned or controlled by a state agency, state university or college for the exploration, development and production of oil and gas. PASSED INTO LAW
15. House Bill 315 – Tough but Fair Policy Protecting the Environment – Moving Forward on Economic Development – This legislation relates to advanced and renewable energy, water conservation and waste-water treatment. The was changes will require increased disclosure of fracking chemicals and water usage, water well sampling with 1,500 feet of proposed horizontal wells and documentation and tracking of oil and gas wells from the time they are started until they are capped. Shippers of brine and other waste fluids will have to be disclosed prior to injection into disposal wells. This bill also requires increased inspections of wells and liability insurance coverage for well owners. Drillers who break the law could face up to $20,000 in daily fines. These regulations are tougher in high-pressure pipelines and gathering lines than the federal government. PASSED INTO LAW.
16. House Bill 473 – Provides Strong Protections While Also Developing the Jobs Associated with Steel Plants, Farms, and Many Factories in Ohio's Industrial Corridor. Legislation to establish a permitting process to protect Lake Erie and its tributaries from potentially harmful withdrawals and to establish other requirements related to the implementation of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. This common sense approach to protecting Lake Erie addresses all of the tenets of the Great Lakes Compact. In fact, HB 473 exceeds what many Great Lakes states have done regarding the protection and monitoring of high quality streams. Withdrawal vs. Consumption: the important issue in not how much water is withdrawn, but how much is consumed. Almost all of the water that is withdrawn is returned to the watershed and only a fraction is actually consumed. In the past, Ohio did not regulate these withdrawals, but under the Compact we are required to implement this new regulatory program. This bill does so in a manner that promotes good stewardship of our water resources and at the same time it promotes job creation. PASSED INTO LAW.
17. House Resolution 51 – Urges Congress to enact the Stop Invasive Species (including Asian Carp) Act, S.2317. This Resolution would compel the Secretary of the Army to complete the report from the Great Lakes Mississippi River Interfacing Study within eighteen months of its enactment to determine what is necessary to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species including Asian Carp between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basins. The risk of Asian Carp establishing populations in the Great Lakes basin is significant, potentially severe, and certainly a very real threat to the fishing industry, the ecological health and economic well-being of the Great Lakes. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY OUT OF THE HOUSE AGRICULTURE & NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE AND UNANIMOUSLY OUT OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES JUNE 2012. PENDING SENATE APPROVAL.
18. House Bill 327 – Provides Opportunities for Home Based Workers. This legislation creates the opportunity for an employee jobs creation tax credit for qualifying employers. Specifically, the bill allows the Ohio Tax Credit Authority to give tax credits to employers with home based workers. This would be an excellent opportunity for those that are restricted in their mobility. Also, this gives an opportunity to those that want to stay home while raising their family to earn additional income. House bill 327 is another innovative, competitive proposal to boosting job growth. PASSED INTO LAW.
19. House Bill 489 - TourismOhio/ODSA - Revamps the state's tourism office into the TourismOhio office and forms an advisory board of tourism experts to oversee it. It establishes a pilot program to test a new funding mechanism for Ohio's travel and tourism marketing. This bill also gives the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) a new name called Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA). The change comes as part of the transfer of economic development duties from the ODOD to JobsOhio. PASSED INTO LAW.
20. House Bill 521 - Motion Picture Ohio Incentive - A proposal to reauthorize and increase funding for the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit to $20 Million per year for 2 years. This bill will keep young people from leaving the state seeking employment elsewhere and attract new people to move here to work in this new industry. Renewing the motion picture tax credit is a critical step in building a strong statewide film industry. PASSED INTO LAW.