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ACEC Ohio Legislative Update--February 24, 2017

House Bill 26 (Transportation Budget)   Rep. McColley

The Transportation Budget Bill passed out of the Ohio House Finance Committee yesterday by a vote of 27-3, the bill is expected to be on the House floor on Tuesday, February 28 with hearings starting in the Ohio Senate next week also.  Items of note can be viewed at HB 26 Omnibus Amendment and include:

 House Bill 49 (GRF Budget Bill)  Rep. Smith

The professional services sales tax is back with the Governor’s budget, House Bill 49. 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. The sales tax portion of the bill has not been discussed in the Ohio House but ACEC Ohio continues to work with the Ohio Services Industry Coalition (a group of over 25 service industry organizations) to voice opposition to any sales tax on professional services. 

 Senate Bill 6 (Bridge Partnership Program) Sen. Hoagland

Sponsor testimony was presented this week in the Ohio Senate on S.B. 6.  The bill extends the Ohio Bridge Partnership Program through the end of FY 2019 and requires the Director of ODOT to submit a report recommending ways to continue to fund the program.

PVC Pipe Preference Bill

ACEC Ohio joined with the Ohio County Commissioners Association, Ohio Municipal League and the Ohio Rural Water Association signing a letter to Ohio House Speaker Rosenberger opposing any bill that may take away the ability of an engineer to recommend the best pipe product based on the design needs of a pubic water system. During the last Ohio General Assembly, House Bill 214 received opposition testimony from over 30 interested parties, including ACEC Ohio.  We anticipate a bill similar to HB 214 will be reintroduced this year.

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