With Wednesday’s passage by the Senate of its version of House Bill 49, the state’s biennial budget, Ohio businesses can rest easier knowing that the Senate did not reinstate any of the various business tax increases that were proposed in the as-introduced version of the bill.

And as we reported in our most recent blog post, there are some significant changes that would benefit Ohio businesses by improving our convoluted municipal income tax system.

HB 49, however, is over 4,700 pages long. As you might imagine, it contains numerous provisions that impact Ohio employers. The Ohio Chamber has been actively involved in advocating on behalf of your business to ensure the budget makes it easier, not more challenging, to successfully and profitably operate a business in Ohio.

Unfortunately, there are a few things we oppose that still need to be resolved during the HB 49 Conference Committee, which is the final step of the legislative process.

In particular, there are three budget proposals that the legislature needs to entirely abandon:

  • A provision that eliminates the current right to make a direct appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court from a decision of the Board of Tax Appeals. Uniform application of tax law is critical to good tax policy and overall economic competitiveness. Unfortunately, by eliminating the direct appeal, the costs of tax appeals would increase and tax law would be applied differently across Ohio. Your business could operate two facilities in two different places and have those operations taxed differently!
  • A provision that creates a new cause of action relating to firearms in parking lots. Last year, the legislature passed – over the Ohio Chamber’s objections – a law that allows individuals to store firearms in their privately-owned vehicles on employer property. The new change contained in the budget would exacerbate this problem by adding significant liability for all property owners and employers throughout the state. It allows any “injured” person to be awarded compensatory damages, equitable relief, and even attorneys’ fees and costs. Creating a new way to file a lawsuit against employers and private property owners is a step backward for Ohio’s legal climate. This issue is not really about guns … it’s about creating a new way for your business to be sued!
  • A provision allowing up to 2% of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and Industrial Commission budgets to be transferred to the General Revenue Fund. This money is your money, as it comes from your business’ workers’ compensation premiums. This would set an extremely dangerous precedent of allowing the state to raid the budgets of these exclusively employer-funded agencies in order to fund general government operations.

They’ve already heard from the Ohio Chamber. Now lawmakers need to hear from you about how harmful these changes could be to your business. The ultimate fate of these provisions will literally be determined over the course of the next 72-96 hours. We urge you to reach out to share your concerns on any of these issues. Obviously, time is short, so we’ve made it easy for you. Just click here to send a message(s) right now.