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ACEC Ohio Legislative Update--April 28, 2017

House Bill 26 (Transportation Budget)   Rep. McColley

To make appropriations for programs related to transportation and public safety for the biennium beginning July 1, 2017, and ending June 30, 2019, and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of those programs.

The Governor signed House Bill 26 on March 31, 2017 but vetoed 4 items:

1)       Smart Transportation Advisory Team
2)       Frequency of Bridge Inspection
3)       ODOT install interchanges on limited access highways every 4 miles
4)       Watercraft Observation

See HB26 veto message here.

House Bill 49 (GRF Budget Bill)  Rep. Smith

On Tuesday this week, a substitute budget bill was introduced in the Ohio House Finance Committee.  The House removed the tax code changes including the sales tax on professional services identified in Governor's budget proposal, however, expanded the sales tax to travel and hotel on-line services. 

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 of which the on-line travel and hotel services are a member.  OSIC delivered a letter to Finance Chairman Smith (that will be a part of the record) asking this language be removed because of the detrimental effects it will have on this industry, continuing to present a unified front.  We don’t know what will happen but are optimistic that they won’t go after only one industry. OSIC Letter 4.28.17.

In addition, discussion is being held on the current $250,000 mark on which a small business does not pay any income tax, then paying 3% above that amount.  It seems the estimates at the time  have been off substantially in terms of what it is costing the state in revenues.  There is considerable speculation that the legislature may “tweak” this somehow, either lowering the exempt amount, or taxing the first $250,000 at a lower rate. As information becomes available we will keep you updated.

House Bill 121 (Piping Materials) Rep. Edwards

The bill requires a public authority to consider all piping materials that meet the engineering specifications for a state funded water or waste water project.  There is a companion bill in the Ohio Senate, SB 95, sponsored by Senator Tehar.  ACEC Ohio has met with both sponsors to discuss our  Letter on HB 121.     ACEC Ohio has asked each sponsor to remove reference to the engineering consultant and the expectation to review ALL piping material in state funding water or waste water jobs. HB 121 received proponent testimony this week, the bill will not be heard next week but ACEC Ohio plans to testify if hearings continue on the bill. It is our understanding that Representative Edwards has asked that HB 121 be part of an omnibus amendment to the GRF Budget Bill (HB 49), we will know more next week when the Ohio House votes on the budget bill.

Senate Bill 113 (Vehicle Registration Fee) Sen. Coley

This week, Senator Bill Coley (R-Liberty Twp.) introduced Senate Bill 113, which would increase vehicle registration fees and create a fuel tax cut that registrants would receive an identification card to swipe at the gas pump that would exempt them from the 28-cent-per-gallon Motor Fuel Tax. ACEC Ohio is an interested party to this bill and is advocating for a more comprehensive funding package addressing long term funding needs of the State.

Residency Bill (HB 180 from last session) update:

The state (under the Attorney General’s office) has filed an appeal of 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.

ACEC Ohio's legal counsel filed an Amicus Brief as part of this appeal on Monday, April 24, 2017. ACEC Ohio Amicus Brief 4.24.17


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