Government

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NFIB Official Previews Ohio Legislative Agenda

December 19, 2016
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By Roger Geiger, vice president and executive director, NFIB/Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio’s lame duck legislative session was a post-election four-week dash. A lot of public policy in a host of areas saw expeditious movement as the Ohio Legislature  wrapped up its work for the 131st General Assembly.

The 132nd will be off to a quick start in January as the state’s biennial operating budget process will commence. The Ohio Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business will be an active participant in that process and on many other bills impacting our membership.

One key area to focus on beyond the budget is reforming Ohio’s unemployment compensation system, which remains insolvent. The General Assembly took great strides in late May by passing House Bill 390, which paid Ohio’s outstanding federal loan of nearly $250 million. As a result of the repayment, Ohio employers will save over $400 million in additional federal unemployment tax (FUTA) penalties. Coupled with the repayment was a punitive automatic tax triggered upon borrowing any amount of money from the federal government.

This up to 0.5% tax would have resulted in some employer’s rates trebling. Also included in House Bill 390 was a commitment by the legislature to reach an unemployment compensation solvency package.

During the lame duck session, House Bill 235 was passed by both chambers. This bill stipulates a two-year adjustment in the taxable wage base from $9,000 to $9,500 and a two-year freezing of benefits. The bill also removed the punitive tax from HB 390.

Business and labor representatives have agreed to work together in earnest to reach a solvency agreement by April 1. NFIB/Ohio is extremely disappointed that the General Assembly was unable to enact solvency legislation in this session. However, we will be working diligently to provide long-term stability for our broken system early next year.

Please monitor our website and social media for updates.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.