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Week in Review: Jan. 30, 2022

Written on Jan 28, 2022

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Gov. Mike DeWine and Intel Corporation announced the largest single private-sector investment in Ohio history on Friday, saying the tech company will invest more than $20 billion in the construction of two new chip factories in Central Ohio. "Today's announcement is monumental news for the state of Ohio," DeWine said. "Intel's new facilities will be transformative for our state, creating thousands of good-paying jobs in Ohio manufacturing strategically vital semiconductors, often called 'chips.' Advanced manufacturing, research and development, and talent are part of Ohio's DNA, and we are proud that chips -- which power the future -- will be made in Ohio, by Ohioans." Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said the investment will help boost production to meet the country's surging demand for advanced semiconductors. Planning for the first two factories will start immediately, with construction expected to begin late in 2022. Production is expected to come online in 2025, when the fab will deliver chips using the industry's most advanced transistor technologies, Intel said. The Ohio project is Intel's first new manufacturing site location in 40 years.

CORONAVIRUS

The ODH's Thursday update saw 12,108 new cases, 446 hospitalizations and 47 ICU admissions. ODH had reported 24,915 cases for Tuesday and Wednesday, as the Tuesday number was underreported, and the Wednesday count was artificially high as a result. The latest 21-day averages include 20,034 cases, 376 hospitalizations and 33 ICU admissions. There have been 536,877 cases reported by ODH in January, along with 10,173 hospitalizations and 900 ICU admissions. The Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) reported 4,746 active hospitalizations and 936 ICU admissions, the first time the hospitalization count has been below 5,000 since Dec. 27.

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said Friday that Ohio's unemployment rate dropped to 4.5% in December, down from 4.8% in November. Ohio's nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 8,800 over the month, from a revised 5,396,600 in November to 5,405,400 in December, ODFJS said. The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in December was 256,000, down from 275,000 in November. The number of unemployed has decreased by 65,000 in the past 12 months from 321,000. The December unemployment rate for Ohio decreased from 5.6% in December 2020. The U.S. unemployment rate for December 2021 was 3.9%, down from 4.2% in November 2021, and down from 6.7% in December 2020.

REDISTRICTING/REAPPORTIONMENT

Just hours before a midnight deadline on Saturday, the Ohio Redistricting Commission passed new General Assembly districts on a 5-2 party-line vote, with maps favoring Republicans in 57 House districts to 42 districts for Democrats and Senate districts favoring Republicans by a margin of 20-13. Because no Democrats voted for the maps, they will only last four years. The adoption set in place a deadline for the plaintiffs days to file any objections to the new maps with the Court, which retained jurisdiction and review over the process -- which they did late Tuesday.

At that time, the plaintiffs in all three lawsuits challenging the General Assembly maps drawn by the Ohio Redistricting Commission filed objections with the Ohio Supreme Court on the new maps, arguing that the revised General Assembly plan continues to violate Article XI of the Ohio Constitution because the commission deviated further from proportionality than required by other sections of the Constitution, and the revised maps were drawn to primarily favor the Republican Party. The Court gave members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission until noon on Friday, Jan. 28 to respond to the objections.

Meanwhile, the Senate Wednesday introduced a placeholder bill for congressional redistricting, with Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) predicting the bill will be up for a floor vote in both chambers the week of Feb. 7. Huffman told reporters that the deadline for the General Assembly to adopt a new congressional map after the Ohio Supreme Court struck down SB258 is Sunday, Feb. 13. The vehicle is likely going to be SB286 (McColley), which was referred to the Senate General Government Budget Committee rather than the Local Government and Elections Committee that heard SB258. Huffman said that is due to that committee's chair, Sen. Theresa Gavarone's (R-Bowling Green) running for Congress.

TAXATION

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced that the nation's tax season started on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, when the tax agency began accepting and processing 2021 tax year returns. Other important dates taxpayers should keep in mind for this year's filing season are April 18, the due date to file 2021 tax return or request extension and pay tax owed due to Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, D.C., even for those who live outside the area, and Oct. 17 which is the due date to file for those requesting an extension on their 2021 tax returns.

The temporary expansions to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) aided many families and reduced the number of children experiencing poverty, Census Bureau data and other research has shown. But now that those payments have ended, there are still ways families can benefit from the program. The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) this month detailed how families can receive their remaining CTC payments in 2022. First, CLASP said families who received six months' worth of payments (from July through December 2021) can get the rest of their 2021 credit only by filing a 2021 tax return.

UTILITIES

Ohioans will see falling energy costs this spring after the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approved auction results Wednesday for Columbia Gas of Ohio, the state's largest natural gas provider serving 1.4 million customers, and Centerpoint Energy Ohio, accounting for more than 300,000 Ohio ratepayers.

This feature was provided by Hannah News Service and selected for you by OSCPA Government Relations staff.