ACEC Ohio Legislative Update--June 16, 2023
Ohio Senate Passes General Revenue Fund Budget with Amendments
The Senate Finance Committee adopted its omnibus amendment this week and then passed the General Revenue Budget 24-7 on Thursday. Click here for Senate Amendments The budget will go to conference committee for negotiation and hopefully finalized by June 30th. Here are the provisions that may be of interest:
- Increases tax relief for Ohioans to over $3.1 Billion. The middle income (< $92,000.00 at 2.75%) tax cut is accelerated and will be effective FY 2023, while the remainder (> $92,000.00 at $3.5%) will be phased in over two-years.
- Modifies the prior CAT reduction by phasing in a two-year exemption of $3 million and $6 million, below which all liability and minimums are eliminated.
- Reduces the Rail Safety Crossing Match Program to $100 million -- a $25 million decrease from the earlier Senate version but above the House version which zeroed out that funding.
- Increases funding for Roadwork Development Grant by $16.2 mil in fiscal year 2024 and $10 mil in fiscal year 2025. Earmarks $10 mil in each fiscal year for local roads impacted by the Intel economic development project.
- Provisions regarding electric distribution utilities and EV charging stations
- Increases, from $170,000 in each fiscal year to $210,000 in each fiscal year, earmarks for the four LDDs
- Reinstates a provision in the introduced bill, but removed by the House, authorizing a nonrefundable tax credit against the insurance premiums, financial institution, or income taxes for investment in the development and construction of affordable single-family housing.
- Preserves a $1.0 Billion One-Time Strategic Community Investment Fund to be used in FY 25 to benefit communities statewide through an application process.
- Makes modifications to a provision added in the Senate substitute bill that authorized two grants and a tax credit through the WHO Program to develop affordable single family homes
- Appropriates $3 million in FY 2024 in One Time Priority Projects for runway improvements and extensions at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Trumbull County.
- Authorizes Cincinnati to levy a tax on ridesharing services provided to passengers who begin or end their ride in the municipality. Requires that municipalities use revenue from the tax for economic development purposes.
- Allows the All Ohio Future Fund to be used for gas, sewer, and certain water infrastructure projects and prohibits an entity receiving dollars from the fund from issuing a rider to their customers for the same project
- Modifies the criteria used to evaluate whether a county or municipality is a "distressed area" for the purposes of the Urban and Rural Initiative Grant Program administered by the Department of Development.
- Requires the Director to update the counties and municipalities that qualify as distressed areas under the Program every 10 years, rather than annually.
- Makes the same changes to the distressed area characteristics for several obsolete grant and tax credit programs such as the Rural Industrial Park Loan Program, the Industrial Site Improvement Program, a credit for purchasers of new manufacturing machinery or equipment, and a credit for economic development of a distressed area.
- Retains the current distressed area criteria for the Brownfield Revitalization Program
- Revises the statute governing OEPA policies to ensure that those policies are consistent with, and not more stringent than, Ohio's environmental protection laws and rules adopted under them. Prohibits a policy from establishing any substantive duty, obligation, prohibition, or regulatory burden not imposed by a statute or rule. Specifies that the application of a policy by OEPA in a manner that makes the policy the functional equivalent of, or a substitute for, a statute or rule, or that effectively alters or amends a statute or rule, or that assumes powers not plainly delegated to the agency by statute, is prohibited.
- Decreases funding for the Water and Sewer Quality Program by $25 million in FY 2024 (uses it for pediatric behavioral healthcare)
- Reduces the H2Ohio-related earmark for soil and water conservation districts in the Western Lake Erie Basin from $6.1 million to $4.2 million in each fiscal year, and includes other priority regions as determined by the Director of Agriculture as eligible for conservation district money.
- Modifies the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program definitions by (1) defining "extremely high cost per location threshold area" as an area in which the cost to build high speed internet infrastructure exceeds the extremely high cost per location threshold established by the Broadband Expansion Program Authority and (2) changing the definition of "tier two broadband service" to permit the inclusion of fixed wireless broadband service as tier two broadband service, if such wireless service is located in an extremely high cost per location threshold area.
- Includes among the Authority's duties the requirement to establish the extremely high cost per location threshold for the costs of building high speed internet infrastructure in any specific area, above which wireline broadband service has an extremely high cost in comparison to fixed wireless broadband service.
- Modifies the ORBEG Program scoring rubric in the bill for several scoring factors.
- Increases, from 50 to 75 points, the maximum possible scores for both of the following: (1) the broadband provider's years of experience providing broadband service and (2) the provider's general experience and technical and financial ability.
- Removes from the scoring rubric, the maximum 50 points score for the extent to which program grants are necessary to deploy broadband service for the eligible project.
The amendment reinstated current law regarding a county engineer---has to be a licensed professional surveyor as well as licensed professional engineer