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Message from Beth--February 15, 2017


We were pleased to have Senate President Larry Obhof join the Board of Directors at their Senator ObhofFebruary meeting to discuss key issues in the Ohio Senate. The Senator noted the challenging budget cycle this year, stagnant economic growth in Ohio, reducing regulations, and flattening out tax brackets. The board members discussed the Councils legislative priorities with the Senator, including opposition to professional services sales tax, increase in infrastructure funding and ensuring a business friendly environment for our firms to work in.

The professional services sales tax is back with the Governor’s budget, House Bill 49, language being introduced last week.  As part of the budget proposal moving through the Ohio House, there is a 0.5% sales tax increase with the addition of some professional services being added: lobbying services, cable television services, repossession services, travel services, interior design and landscape design services.  While engineering consulting services are not listed, we are concerned with the vague language defining these services, especially landscape design services. 

“Landscape design service is or is to be provided.  As used in this division, “landscape design service” means the planning and design of exterior spaces, including consultation; research; supervision; preparation of general or specific design or detail plans, studies or specifications; or any other similar service.”

If your firm does this type of work, we would like to know the impact this language has on your business as soon as possible. Please contact me with questions.

House Bill 180-Residency Bill Update: The state (under the Attorney General’s office) is planning to appeal the decision of a Cuyahoga County court that ruled 131-HB180 as unconstitutional because if violates home rule.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Michael Russo sided with Cleveland, granting a permanent injunction against the enforcement of the law. Russo wrote that the General Assembly did not have the authority to enact the law because it only seeks to dictate the terms by which municipalities may contract for workers within their region, not provide for the comfort, health, safety and welfare of employees. He also said the law violates home rule powers.

The city of Cleveland sued after Gov. John Kasich signed HB180 (Maag), which banned municipalities from requiring architects and contractors to hire to a certain percentage of local residents for the construction of public projects. Opponents of the law said the measures allow cities to make sure local workers are getting jobs on local construction projects, while supporters said such laws raise costs and hurt competition.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions.


Advancing the Business of Engineering