State of Ohio Budget

OGA Pleased with Final State Budget

(July 2, 2105) After months of testimony and deliberations, Governor Kasich signed HB 64, Ohio’s Biennial Budget Tuesday night. The final bill included additional tax cuts, record funding for K-12 schools and a tuition freeze at two and four-year state institutions. Primarily on the tax components of the bill, the final plan will reduce Ohio’s income tax rate by 6.3 percent, estimated to save taxpayers $1.26 billion over the next two years and eliminates the taxes on the first $250,000 net income for small businesses and creates a new flat tax at 3% for small businesses above that income level beginning in FY17.

OGA President Nate Filler stated, “We worked very hard to represent the best interests of the Ohio Food Industry throughout the budget process. The final product is a result of strong collaboration with our business partners and Ohio’s lawmakers which created a positive outcome for OGA’s membership.”

OGA members will enjoy the following benefits from our efforts:

  • NO CAT increase
  • NO sales tax hike or expansion
  • A reduction in the original proposed cigarette tax hike of $1.00 per pack to .35 cents per pack and no other tax hikes on other tobacco products or vapor products. *Members should refer to this Ohio Department of Tax publication for further guidance on implementing the tax increase
  • The creation of Ohio’s first-ever Healthy Food Financing Fund which will allow grocers the ability to access funding to locate in at-risk and underserved areas.

Please see this communication from Governor Kasich’s office detailing the highlights of the final package. For questions on the budget, please contact OGA President Kristin Mullins.

Ohio Budget Update: Conference Committee Reports Budget – OGA Pleased with Outcome
(June 25, 2015) Working well into the early morning hours, the Conference Committee comprised of House and Senate members reported an agreement on HB 64, clearly the way for both the House and Senate to pass the budget bill late this week. We are very pleased to report that no increases were made to the commercial activity tax (CAT). The cigarette tax rate stands to be increased by .35 cents but this is a significant drop from past proposals calling for a $1 per pack increase. OGA also helped usher in the funding and creation of the first-ever Ohio Healthy Food Financing Initiative which will be used as seed funding to attract additional public and private investment to create a statewide funding pool for healthy food projects.
The Senate is expected to vote on the conference committee report today, followed by the House tomorrow before it heads to the Governor’s desk. Look for a final OGA Budget update once it is officially signed by Governor Kasich next week.

Senate Releases First Round of Revisions to Budget

(June 11, 2015) After weeks of testimony and deliberations, the Senate announced their revisions to HB 64, Ohio’s Biennial Budget, during a press conference on Monday morning. Broad revisions to the bill include additional tax cuts, maintaining the House plan to keep schools from losing state funds, and the restoration of Medicaid coverage for pregnant women. Primarily on the tax components of the bill, the Senate plan will reduce Ohio’s income tax rate by 6.3 percent, estimated to save taxpayers $1.26 billion over the next two years and eliminates the taxes on the first $250,000 net income for small businesses and creates a new flat tax for small businesses above that income level. Much of the additional revenue generated to supplement these tax cuts will be through a 40-cent increase to the cigarette tax and increases to other tobacco products (not including e-cigarettes or vapor products).

OGA is extremely happy to report there were no increases to either the CAT or sales tax contained within the Senate plan but remained concerned with the negative impact tobacco increase will have on our industry. We also are working to restore funding for the creation of a healthy food finance fund that was in the House version of the budget. After this week of testimony on the sub bill, the Senate will release their second revision to the Budget, followed by a full chamber vote next week.

Other highlights include:

  • Tuition freeze and increased funding for higher education
  • Funding for police training programs
  • Additional support for townships
  • Revolving loan programs to aid businesses in economically distressed lake areas
  • $13 million electronic poll technology to update the state’s voting process

 

Senate to Release Budget Plan Next Week

(June 4, 2015) The Ohio Senate is expected to roll out their budget changes this coming Monday before a full chamber vote on June 17. Most notably, the Senate will seek to roll out an even larger net income-tax cut than what the House passed in their version. According to President Faber, the Senate’s goal is a net tax cut of about $500 million more than the $1.2 billion income-tax passed by the House in the form of lowering all income tax rates and increasing the small business exemption on income. To raise the needed revenue, the Senate is likely to consider raising various taxes, including tobacco, sales tax, oil and gas, and possibly the CAT. OGA remains concerned with these potential tax increases, as they negatively impact the retail food industry and will ultimately make it harder to do business in Ohio. Contact your Senator TODAY and urge them to oppose any efforts to increase the CAT or tobacco taxes!

 

House Passes Budget Bill –  Proposed CAT and Sales Tax Hikes REMOVED!

(April 23, 2015) Late yesterday evening, the House of Representatives passed HB 64, the two-year, $131.6 billion spending bill (the budget bill). As reported last week, OGA is pleased that our advocacy efforts have impacted the process with the removal of the proposed 23% increase to the CAT tax, sales tax hike and expansion. We applaud the Speaker and his leadership team for understanding the devastating impact these taxes can have on our member operations. OGA also would like to thank those members who joined us in testifying and using our grassroots center to express your concerns on these provisions. Rather than the proposed tax shifting plan, the House Republican plan would instead provide for $1.2 billion income tax cuts using projected growth in tax revenue to offset the expense.

Other highlights include:

  • The bill would include a 6.3% across-the-board reduction in rates, bringing the top income tax rate below 5%. The new plan also makes permanent a 75% small business tax cut for the first $250,000 of income.
  • Additional $280 million in primary and secondary education spending than the Governor’s proposal
  • Continuation of Medicaid “expansion” funding through 2017

OGA is also pleased that Substitute Bill removes the tobacco tax increases as well as the new taxation on e-cigarettes. However, OGA remains concerned over new language that would permit Stark County (based on their population) to levy additional cigarette and alcohol taxes for the arts similar to existing law for Cuyahoga County. Please also keep in mind that this is just the next step in a lengthy budget process. The budget will then be sent to the Senate for their consideration. We remained concerned with the direction the Senate has indicated they will take – working from current fiscal levels and not necessarily from the House passed version. With this mind, we need to continue to have a strong voice throughout the Senate hearings. Please plan on attending the OGA Statehouse Day on April 28 and contact OGA President Kristin Mullins for more ways to get involved in the process.

 

Governor Signs Transportation Budget

(April 2, 2015)  Governor Kasich signed the State’s two-year transportation Budget on Wednesday, which allocates billions of dollars for highway work and serves as a spending blueprint for the Ohio Department of Transportation for the next two years. Several of the more controversially provisions, such as a proposed increase to speed limit to 75 mph, and a provision that critics said would have hurt out-of-state college students from registering to vote, whether either nixed during the final stages or vetoed by the Governor upon signing.

With the transportation budget now signed, full focus now shifts to the Main Operating Budget. The Legislature is currently on its two-week spring break and upon returning, we expect to see many revisions to the current draft from the House. We are optimistic that we will see substantially revisions to the bill in its current form but continue to urge lawmakers to address and remove many of the costly tax provisions.

With that in mind, House members need to hear how the tax increases in the Budget will be harmful to the future growth and sustainability of Ohio’s retail food and grocery industry. It only takes a few minutes to take action and email your Representative. Contact your State House of Representative member TODAY and voice your opposition to the tax increases found in HB 64!

 

House Wraps up Budget Hearings– Contact your State Representative Today!

(March 26, 2015) The Ohio House of Representatives held their final hearings on the as introduced Governor’s Budget this week. Testimony wrapped up this week in House Finance Committee as General Assembly members will now break for their two week spring recess. When members return, we expect the House to reveal their expected revisions and own version of the Biennial budget.

House members need to hear how the tax increases in the Budget will be harmful to the future growth and sustainability of Ohio’s retail food and grocery industry. Contact your State House of Representative member TODAY and voice your opposition to the tax increases found in HB 64!

House Readies Budget Revisions

(March 19, 2015) The Ohio House of Representatives gears up for their final stretch of hearings on the Governor’s Budget. Testimony is expected to shift back to the full House Finance Committee next week before General Assembly members break for their spring break. When members return, we expect the House to reveal their expected revisions and own version of the Biennial budget.

House members need to hear how the tax increases in the Budget will be harmful to the future growth and sustainability of Ohio’s retail food and grocery industry. Contact your State House of Representative member TODAY and voice your opposition to the tax increases found in HB 64!

Ohio Budget Update

(March 12, 2015) Testimony continued in the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday and Wednesday with several business groups, including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, opposing the Governor’s proposed tax increases. Various groups and associations highlighted their disapproval with certain tax components of the budget, including the sales tax increases and CAT increase. For more information read the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Testimony.

Hearings on the Governor’s Budget are expected to shift over to the full House Finance Committee over the next few weeks and the House’s own version of the budget is expected to be introduced in early April. OGA will continue to voice our concerns with the proposed tax increases and will monitor the proceedings moving forward. Please contact Kristin Mullins for any budget questions or concerns.

OGA to Give Testimony on the Governor’s Budget

(February 19, 2015) The Ohio Grocers Association will be providing testimony on various tax components of the Governor’s Budget Bill in House Ways & Means Committee next Wednesday – February 25. Next Wednesday is designated as the day for Ohio businesses to provide testimony on the various budget tax proposals impacting them. OGA will be providing testimony, emphasizing the impact increases to Ohio’s gross receipts tax, the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT), and Cigarette Excise tax have on grocers, among other components of the bill. If you would like to participate and offer testimony as well please contact Kristin Mullins via email or call 614-448-1622 as soon as possible for further details. We would need to let Chairman’s office know at least 24 hours in advance. Again the committee is slated to occur next Wednesday, February 25 at 3pm or after session is concluded.

Governor Kasich Introduces Budget Plan

(February 5, 2015) On Monday, Governor Kasich released his highly anticipated 2016-2017 Fiscal Year Biennial Budget which included numerous changes, most notably significant tax revisions. Among the proposals outlined in the budget plan was capping college tuition increases for 2016 and freezing tuition rates in 2017; greater emphasis on advance placement classes in high schools; and new reforms within workforce training programs designed to Ohioans out of poverty.

Most notably, however, were sweeping tax provisions, aimed at the Governor’s continual focus on lowering the personal income tax rate. A proposed 23 percent income tax cut, additional low and middle income tax cuts and the elimination of income taxes for all small businesses (those under $2 million in gross receipts) would be paid for by increasing the Commercial Activities Tax (CAT) from .26 percent to .32 percent; raising the tax on tobacco products; increases to Ohio’s Oil and Gas taxes; broadening the base and raising the state sales tax rate from 5.75 to 6.25 percent; among other tax related provisions.

While we support the Governor’s goal to create a better tax environment for all Ohioans; we have deep concerns with tax reform that disproportionately burdens the retail food industry.  OGA will analyze the Governor’s budget in greater detail over the new few weeks and we will continue to work with our Ohio Legislators as they work through the Budget process. Please contact Kristin Mullins with any questions.

Ohio Grocer Association
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