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SBA’s Emerging Leaders Program has Openings in Cincinnati & Columbus

March 29, 2019

Emerging Leaders is an intensive, executive-level training initiative designed to accelerate the growth of small businesses with potential for job creation. During the course of seven months, participants are given the opportunity to work with experienced mentors, attend specialized workshops and develop connections with their peers, city leaders and the financial community.

The program is free. For additional information, go here. Or contact Shannon Feucht, Economic Development Specialist, Columbus, or Nicole Pickard, Economic Development Specialist, Cincinnati. 3/26/2019

DeLuca of Scotts Miracle-Gro Elected to OMA Board

March 22, 2019

When it met this week, OMA’s board of directors elected Aimee M. DeLuca, Vice President, Taxes, The Scott’s Miracle-Gro Company, Marysville, as director and treasurer.

Aimee originally joined The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (NYSE:SMG) in 1997 after six years in public accounting with EY. Aimee also held tax leadership positions with AT&T Wireless Services, Inc. (Seattle, WA) and Hillenbrand Industries (Batesville, IN) from 2000 through 2004.

Returning to the Columbus area, she rejoined SMG in 2004 and currently leads their corporate tax function with key responsibilities in the areas of global income tax and domestic transaction tax planning and compliance, strategic planning and M&A, tax accounting and financial reporting, tax audit management, and negotiation of tax credits and incentives. Aimee is also an officer and board member of several SMG affiliates, both foreign and domestic.

Aimee is a graduate of Bowling Green State University with a BSBA, Accounting, and received a Pace Setter Award in conjunction with earning her MBA from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business in 2008.

OMA’s board members are volunteers and can serve an unlimited number of three-year terms. 3/19/2019

State Budget Rollout Underway

March 22, 2019

Governor DeWine announced priorities for his two-year state budget at a kickoff press conference last week. The details of the state’s main operating budget have yet to be formally introduced as a bill, but testimony began this week before the House Finance Committee.

Kimberly Murnieks, Director, Ohio Office of Budget and Management, outlined forecast revenue and spending for the biennium.

The state budget has far-reaching fiscal impacts on all individuals and businesses. As it is debated, the budget bill – expected to be introduced today – becomes a “legislative Christmas tree” including hundreds of potentially significant policy changes.

OMA staff and counsel will be monitoring and reporting on the myriad of policies addressed in the bill. Stay tuned and plan to participate in upcoming OMA policy committees where details will be reviewed and discussed. 3/21/2019

Senate Committee Lowers Gas Tax Increase to $0.06 per Gallon

March 22, 2019

Late Thursday afternoon members of the Senate Transportation, Commerce & Workforce Committee voted to lower the proposed gas tax increase to 6 cents, down from the 10.7 cents on gasoline and 20 cents on diesel passed by the House.

Both of these proposals by the General Assembly are well short of the 18 cent increase that Governor DeWine had made a case for when he introduced the Transportation Budget.

The bill is expected to pass the Senate and will go to a Conference Committee where members of the House and Senate will settle the differences between the two chambers next week. 3/21/2019

OMA Board Hears from ODOT Director re. Gas Tax Proposal

March 22, 2019

At their quarterly meeting this week, members of the OMA board of directors visited with ODOT Director Dr. Jack Marchbanks. Front and center was the Statehouse debate on law changes to adjust Ohio’s motor fuel tax.

Dr. Marchbanks explained why the state needs an 18 cent hike on the motor fuel state tax in order to fund transportation projects and maintenance. The ODOT director illustrated that even with the increase, Ohio’s motor fuel tax would still be competitive compared to surrounding states.

The state tax per gallon of fuel stands at 28 cents and has not been changed since 2003. The director noted how more fuel-efficient vehicles have contributed to declining revenues for over a decade.

The OMA is on record as supporting the governor’s originally proposed 18 cent increase. 3/21/2019

Senate Retains Favorable Truck Provision

March 22, 2019

Of the many law changes tucked into the pending state transportation budget, House Bill 62, the House included an amendment that would improve how the state’s popular “regional heavy haul permit” would function. Since 2013, the permit has allowed heavier loads under certain restrictions. The regional heavy haul permit has been well received by manufacturers that transport heavier materials.

Railroad lobbyists took aim at the trucking efficiency improvement during the Senate debate.

The Senate Commerce, Labor & Workforce Committee removed the beneficial provision from the bill. However, yesterday evening, the full Senate restored the permit provision during debate on the Senate floor.

As a member of a business coalition, the OMA had asked Committee Chairman Senator Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) to support the House version.

The OMA’s policy priorities call for support of state and federal legislation, rules and regulations that safely provide greater flexibility and efficiency in truck movements. The OMA is also supportive of technology and workforce solutions that address the shortage of truck drivers. 3/21/2019

President Trump’s Budget Could Cost Ohio Employers

March 22, 2019

President Trump’s recently released budget effectively mandates that employers in states that have low balances in their unemployment compensation trust funds would be required to pay a higher federal unemployment tax than states with healthy trust fund balances.

If enacted, the projected total for the increase in taxes over the next ten years is $9.2 billion. This would require higher taxes on employers in ten states, including Ohio, even though an employer’s individual unemployment insurance account is adequate to cover charges associated with benefits.

Here is the U.S. Department of Labor unemployment insurance program outlook. 3/21/2019

OMA to Senate Committee: Gas Tax Hike Okay, But Don’t Tax Diesel Higher

March 15, 2019

OMA member Ross McGregor, Executive Vice President, Pentaflex, Inc., Springfield, delivered testimony to the Senate Transportation, Commerce and Workforce Committee this week defending Governor DeWine’s proposed increase to the motor fuel tax.

The tax hike, targeted to fund infrastructure improvements, is included in the state transportation budget, House Bill 62, which has cleared the House and is now pending in the Senate.

The OMA witness took issue with revisions to the proposal that would tax diesel fuel at a rate 25% higher than gasoline. “Like most states, Ohio has one simple motor fuel tax rate that applies equally to all vehicles that consume motor fuel. The bill pending before you confounds the established simple tax and will result in diesel fuel being taxed at a rate of 25% greater than gasoline. Why?” testified McGregor.

McGregor made the point to senators that it is a common practice in shipping contracts for the carrier to pass along the total fuel costs to the shipper: “So, in effect, when you raise taxes on diesel fuel, you are increasing costs on economic drivers of our state’s prosperity.” 3/14/2019

DeWine Budget Out Today

March 15, 2019

Governor Mike DeWine’s first biennial budget will be unveiled today with the release of the budget “blue book.”

We’ll have a rundown of the elements of the budget that impact Ohio manufacturing in next week’s Leadership Briefing and ongoing as the budget debates continue through June 30, the date by which the state budget must be signed into law. 3/14/2019

Governor’s Plan Combats Lead Poisoning

March 15, 2019

Gov. Mike DeWine made a commitment to Ohio’s children in his State of the State Address. This week he outlined a plan to combat lead poisoning.

The governor’s media release said that lead exposure is a serious preventable, environmental public health threat to children, who are exposed to deteriorating lead paint (dust) in houses and apartments built prior to 1978. Exposure to lead causes issues with genitive development, behavior, IQ, hearing and speech.

The plan recommends targeting $10 million over the next two years to implement a multi-pronged approach including testing, early intervention services and abatement measures. 3/14/2019