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House Delays Action on 60% Voter-Approval Plan

May 5, 2023

The Ohio House failed to take action this week on a controversial plan to make it more difficult to amend the state constitution by increasing the voter-approval threshold to 60%, instead of a simple majority.

As Gongwer News Service reports, a House committee passed its version of the plan, but “questions remain whether there’s sufficient GOP support to be passed by the full House.”

It’s also uncertain whether House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) will bring up the measure for a vote before the deadline. For the proposed Aug. 8 election, in which Ohio voters would decide the plan’s fate, the deadline for legislative action is Wednesday, May 10. 5/4/2023

How Is Your County Spending State-Disbursed Funds?

May 5, 2023

In Fiscal Year 2022, Ohio’s state government disbursed nearly $42 billion in subsidies and capital funds to all 88 counties. See how your county spent these funds in this report compiled by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission. Or click on your county using this interactive map. 5/4/2023

Details of House-Passed Budget

April 28, 2023

The Ohio House has passed its version of the state’s two-year operating budget (House Bill 33) on a 78-19 vote.

Seventeen Republicans, including Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township) — who lost his bid for the speaker’s position to Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) earlier this year — voted against HB 33 after amendments were blocked during floor consideration.

As approved by the House, the measure would spend $88 billion in state dollars and another $104 billion in federal funds. (This document compares the House provisions to the governor’s.) Among other things, the House budget would:

  • Reduce Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed $684 million in workforce investments. (The House did, however, restore the governor’s suggested $200 million for career-tech facility expansions, after previously proposing a 50% reduction.)
  • Add new provisions to allow utilities to collect unlimited costs from customers for projects deemed to be “economic development” or “infrastructure.” (The OMA is opposed to this language. See related story.)
  • Provide modest income tax relief on earnings between $26,050 and $92,150.
  • Reduce the governor’s $2.5 billion for the All Ohio Future Fund — which would ensure ready-to-go economic development sites statewide — to just $500 million.
  • Reduce the governor’s $150 million for innovation hubs to $25 million.

The budget now goes to the Senate, where it will be subject to further revision. One possible change could be new language to include a K-12 education restructuring plan that would ensure more focus on workforce, as spotlighted by Gongwer News Service. 4/26/2023

FTC Investigates ‘Made in the USA’ Claims

April 28, 2023

The Federal Trade Commission continues to pursue manufacturers and marketers when the FTC suspects misleading “Made in USA” claims, according to this insight from OMA Connections Partner Benesch. The firm writes: Just because a product is assembled in the U.S. does not make it “Made in USA” under the law. 4/26/2023

Quiz: U.S. Manufacturing Milestones

April 28, 2023

How well do you know the historic developments that shaped modern American manufacturing? Take IndustryWeek’s short quiz — ten questions that cover a few centuries of production. 4/24/2023

Ranking: Global EV Production by Manufacturer

April 28, 2023

Last year, global electric vehicle production surpassed 10 million cars, up from 6.7 million in 2021. Visual Capitalist has published this infographic showing China’s BYD Auto surpassed Tesla for most EV sales, with Volkswagen, GM, and Stellantis rounding out the top five.

The International Energy Agency has updated its Global EV Outlook report, showing 2022 EV sales in China were nearly six times higher than in the U.S. 4/24/2023

House Releases Revised State Budget Plan

April 21, 2023

Ohio lawmakers this week intensified their focus on the state’s two-year spending plan, as the House Finance Committee adopted its substitute budget bill (House Bill 33).

Among other provisions, the House budget would reduce Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed workforce investments by $260 million. The House changes include removal of the governor’s WorkFORCE Ohio program, which would assess Ohio’s critical educational and training needs to ensure a skilled workforce, as well as 50% reduction in the governor’s proposed $200 million for career-tech facility expansions.

This article from Hannah News Service captures the highlights of the House budget. This 587-page document compares the House provisions to those in the governor’s budget.

The House is expected to finalize its version of the operating budget next week. Following House approval, the budget will be considered by the Senate. 4/19/2023

Senate Passes 60% Voter-Approval Threshold Plan

April 21, 2023

Efforts to amend the Ohio Constitution — whether citizen-led or via legislation — would face tougher odds if the House and Ohio voters approve a controversial plan passed by the Senate this week.

By a 26-7 vote along party lines, the Senate OK’d Senate Joint Resolution 2 to increase the voter-approval threshold needed to pass constitutional amendments at the ballot box to 60%. The upper chamber also passed Senate Bill 92 to schedule an Aug. 8 election for voters to decide the matter.

The House has its own version of the 60% voter-approval plan. That measure was approved by a House committee this week, but questions remain whether there’s sufficient GOP support to be passed by the full House.

Gongwer News Service reports that earlier comments from Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) expressing opposition to an August election “have fueled accusations from within his caucus that he is seeking to block the effort.” The deadline to pass the resolution is May 10 due to an election law deadline. 4/20/2023

Ohio No. 20 in Economic Outlook Study

April 21, 2023

Ohio is ranked No. 20 in a new economic outlook study by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. Ohio earned high marks for its lack of an estate/inheritance tax, low workers’ compensation costs, and low corporate tax burden. But not being a right-to-work state — along with the state’s personal income tax structure and legal climate — hurt Ohio’s overall ranking. 4/18/2023

OMA Goes to Bat for Workforce Investments

April 21, 2023

On April 19, Whirlpool Corporation’s Monica Brown, the company’s human resources regional director, testified before the House Finance Committee on behalf of the OMA in support of historic workforce development investments in the two-year state budget proposed by the DeWine-Husted administration. Read Brown’s testimony. Or watch her testimony at the 1:38:47 mark of this video.

Earlier in the week, Ohio House leaders introduced their version of the budget. (See related stories.) The House plan would significantly reduce the governor’s funding level for career-tech construction projects, from $200 million to $100 million.

Brown urged House lawmakers to restore the governor’s funding level for the career-tech construction program. She also urged representatives to establish the OMA-supported Smart Technologies Assistance Program (STAP) to create a new manufacturing equipment grant, and to preserve funding for the popular TechCred and industry sector partnership grants. 4/19/2023