March 14, 2014
Five items or less….
- On Tuesday, the Governor released the details of his latest mid-cycle budget measure (MBR), and as anticipated, there were extensive areas of tax reform. The plan seeks to lower the state’s top personal income tax bracket below 5% but would be paid for with a mix of tax hikes on businesses, smokers, and oil and gas companies. Most concerning to retailers is the increase from 0.26% to 0.30% in the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) and a 60-cent per-pack hike in cigarette taxes. In addition, the Governor’s proposal calls for an increase to 49 percent on other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.These proposed tax increases will cut into our industry’s already razor thin profit margin, making it increasingly difficult to do business in Ohio. Furthermore, it will place retailers and Ohio at a competitive disadvantage with our surrounding states. OGA needs your input! As we begin to fight these tax increases and meet with legislators, we need your help in providing them with real, tangible numbers on how these increases will hurt your businesses.ACTION REQUESTED:
We are asking you to provide us with what you pay now on CAT and what you would pay with a 0.04% increase in the rate. We will then be able to accurately portray the devastating costs this will have on our membership. Please email Kristin Mullins or call him at 614-448-1622 with these numbers and if you are interested in potentially submitting future testimony. Moving forward, we will provide instructions on how to reach out to contact state lawmakers.
Lastly, we have attached a recent press release and article, both of which Nate Filler, Former OGA President/CEO, is quoted in regarding these tax increases and talking points/handouts that we have been distributing to Legislators on the CAT and tobacco tax increase.
- Earlier this week, President Obama detailed his latest attempt to raise pay for low-wage workers by announcing his intentions to expand overtime pay. On Thursday, the President directed Labor Secretary Tom Perez to raise the threshold for workers to be covered by overtime protections, a move anticipated to affect millions of employees in the administrative, executive, or professional role, which is defined as a “white collar” post. It is expected that the Labor Department will begin to draft rules to determine both the pay threshold and a federal definition of white collar worker. The Administration has indicated this is a top priority to implement these new rules in a timely manner so we expect the rule making process to be thoroughly vetted later this year. OGA has grave concerns over such a proposed regulation and we will be working closely with our national partners as we move throughout the year.
- On March 5, the IRS and Department of Treasury released its final regulations regarding the reporting requirements in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). For more detailed information, we encourage members to tune into the National Grocers Association (NGA) upcoming webinar about these new regulations being held on Wednesday, March 26. You can register here.
- In what many see as a referendum on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Republican David jolly narrowly defeated Democrat Alex Sink this past Tuesday in a Tampa, Florida area House race. The race was to replace the late Rep. Bill Young and considered by most to be a tossup. Furthermore, many consider this a possible trend for Congressional races as we head into the mid-term elections this fall.
- With a handful of exceptions, the most competitive and consequential primaries are in the Republican Party this cycle. This results from a more significant ideological break within the Republican Party, but is also a testament to the power the President holds over their party’s political infrastructure. The same was true during the Bush administration when a phone call from Karl Rove could often stop a primary before it formed. The Democrats have cleared the field for their chosen nominee in their most competitive Senate races without an incumbent. In South Dakota, Michigan, Montana, Georgia, West Virginia, Iowa, and Kentucky, none of the Democrats face a competitive primary. Read the full article. (credit to NGA)
As a reminder, the next OGA Government Affairs Conference Call will be held on April 4. The call will begin at 9am and last for a half hour or so. You can participate by dialing toll-free into 855-753-5255.
If you have any questions please contact OGA President/CEO, Kristin Mullins for further information on these items or any government relations issue.