Friday, March 16, 2012

Ohio House Finance & Appropriations Chairman Ron Amstutz on Introduction of MBR

(COLUMBUS) - Today a 2,833-page bill was introduced into the Ohio House of Representatives as requested by Governor Kasich and his administration. Following introduction, State Representative Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster), Chairman of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee, provided indications as to how committee work will proceed as hearings on the bill begin Tuesday. Additionally, Chairman Amstutz made the following statement regarding House Bill 487, the Mid-Biennium Budget Review (MBR):

"Because this bill comes to us in the way operating budgets generally do rather than the more usual way that other bills come to us from administrative agencies, we are taking extraordinary steps in our process to ensure this is done properly. Members of the administration recently began outlining their intentioned recommendations to us and to the public, but today is the first day that we’ve seen any of this language in the House, and this is likely the case for many Ohioans affected by various policy changes being proposed.

“Given the size of this set of recommendations, we are beginning an ‘all hands on deck’ process to give full attention to the necessary work ahead of us. My initial sense is that many of the provisions of this legislation make sense and will result in improvements for our citizens. Some of these proposals are natural extensions of actions taken last year in the operating budget, or in other bills like the sentencing reforms enacted in HB 86.

“But there are also quite a few new policy proposals in this bill, especially in the area of taxation.

Our approach to proposed tax provisions can be divided into three parts:

Part One – Financial Institutions: State taxes on financial institutions would undergo major changes in the MBR, including a repeal of the state's corporate franchise tax. These proposals are expected to be placed into separate legislation to give it careful consideration in the House Ways and Means Committee.

Part Two – Extraction taxes on natural gas and oil liquids: This aspect of the proposal touches on a high priority for our caucus: making’s Ohio’s tax burden as equitable and competitive as possible. However, the more the members of our caucus have learned about this particular proposal, the more concerned I’ve become that there are key questions that cannot be sufficiently answered and resolved within the available legislative time frame -- especially in light of all the other legislative work on our plate.

It may be possible in the future to develop a tax reform package that makes bigger improvements in Ohio's tax equity and competitiveness.

For these reasons I expect to remove from the hearing process the portions related to the severance/income tax so that this may be heard in separate legislation in the future. This will be the only thing removed in a substitute bill I expect to offer at Tuesday's hearing of the Finance Committee. This will help all of us better focus on the remaining work.

Part Three – Additional Tax Policy Changes: These are many and deserve sufficient hearings in our committee process -- in this case, in detail before the Ways and Means Committee, with final action possible either in full Finance, or separately in Ways and Means.”


To appropriately review and consider Governor Kasich’s Mid-Biennium Review the House of Representatives will enlist several standing committees of the House, besides Finance and Appropriations, to informally hear portions of the bill related to their normal subject area. A breakdown of those committees, when they are scheduled to meet and what portions of the bill they will hear is below:

Criminal Justice (Chair – Lynn Slaby)

Wednesday, March 21 at 8:30 a.m. in Rm. 114

Agencies/Topics: Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, Department of Youth Services, HB 86 follow-up

Finance and Appropriations (Chair – Ron Amstutz)

Tuesday, March 20 at 10:00 a.m. in Rm. 313

Agencies/Topics: Office of Budget and Management

Health & Human Services Subcommittee of Finance and Appropriations (Chair – Jeff McClain)

Wednesday, March 21 at 9:00 a.m. in Rm. 313

Agencies/Topics: Office of Health Transformation, Medicaid, Department of Health

Thursday, March 22 at 9:00 a.m. in Rm. 313

Agencies/Topics: Department of Aging, Department of Mental Health, Department of Developmental Disabilities

Local Government (Chair – Terry Blair)

Wednesday, March 21 at 2:00 p.m. in Rm. 121

Topics: Local Government Issues

Thursday, March 22 at 2:30 p.m. in Rm. 121

Topics: Local Government Issues

State Government (Chair – Ron Maag)

Wednesday, March 21 at 9:00 a.m. in Rm. 116

Agencies/Topics: Department of Administrative Services, State Government Agency Efficiencies and Consolidations, Land Conveyances

Ways and Means (Chair – Peter Beck)

Wednesday, March 21 at 10:00 a.m. in Rm. 122

Agencies/Topics: Office of Budget and Management, Department of Taxation, Department of Commerce; HB X -- Tax reforms impacting financial institutions and affiliates related to repeal of the remaining corporate franchise tax, expected to be placed in separate bill.

Thursday, March 22 immediately following House Session in Rm. 122

Agencies/Topics: Commercial Activities, Excise and Sales Taxes