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Week in Review: July 17, 2022

Written on Jul 15, 2022

FY22-23 BUDGET

Tax collections generated nearly $180 million more than expected in June, bringing Ohio's revenue surplus to more than $2.7 billion at the close of FY22 on June 30, according to data from the Office of Budget and Management (OBM). The state collected $28.1 billion in taxes through the fiscal year, compared to expectations of $25.4 billion, a difference of nearly 11 percent. Personal income tax collections made up the bulk of that overage, bringing in $1.85 billion or 20.8 percent more than

expected; June's collections themselves were $50.1 million or 5.1 percent ahead of estimates.

CORONAVIRUS

The latest COVID-19 Omicron subvariant, BA.5, now makes up around half of COVID-19 cases according to sample data collected by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) in the two weeks ending July 2. Since this information involves genomic sequencing, it is published another two weeks after the fact. ODH said Thursday that Omicron BA.5 was present in 45.1% of samples, up from 18.76% in the previous period ending June 18. The BA.4 subvariant also nearly doubled, from 5.65% to 10.57%. Two earlier subvariants, BA.2 and BA.2.12.1, are in decline as a result and totaled 11.08% and 32.4%, respectively. BA.2.12.1 previously represented over half of samples in June 18 data.

ELECTIONS

The Ohio Elections Commission Thursday spent the bulk of its meeting discussing a potential policy on when it will allow witnesses to testify before it through videoconferencing and when it will require them to appear in-person. Executive Director Phil Richter brought the issue before the commission, saying it is a question that has come up often since the commission began transitioning back to in-person meetings after using videoconferencing during the height of the pandemic.

ELECTIONS 2022

According to Secretary of State Frank LaRose, 44,407 absentee ballots had been requested by mail or in-person for the state legislative and political party central committee races for the Tuesday, Aug. 2 primary election, and 6,239 votes have been cast statewide in those same races. Data were collected by the Ohio Secretary of State's Office via an informal survey of Ohio's 88 county boards of elections. The information includes data reported by the county boards from the start of early voting on Wednesday, July 6 through the end of early voting hours on Friday, July 8.

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the nation added 372,000 jobs in June, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.6% as job gains occurred in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and health care. The unemployment rate was 3.6% for the fourth month in a row, and the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 5.9 million in June. These measures are little different from their values in February 2020 (3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively), prior to the coronavirus pandemic, BLS said.

ENERGY/UTILITIES

Parties before the Ohio Supreme Court Tuesday debated whether the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has authority to order the collection of a flat $20 million from all electric ratepayers for the annual solar subsidy of 133-HB6 (Callender-Wilkin) and 134-HB128 (Hoops-Stein) or must first calculate solar credits eligible generators actually have earned. The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and PUCO also differed over the meaning of billed “customers” – whether they constitute single entities with more than one location or individual accounts for which an entity may pay multiple charges.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

The Controlling Board Monday approved an additional $100 million in spending for rental and utility assistance from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The request was an emergency add-on by the Ohio Department of Development (DOD). Markee Osborne, legislative director for the agency, told the Controlling Board that the funds are the second round of emergency rental assistance dollars from APRA. The funds will be used by eligible households for regulated gas and electric utility payments and for community action agencies to use for rental assistance. She said $196 million is available to the state through the second round of funding, with Ohio set to receive around $496 million through 2025.

WORKFORCE

Results for the May round of TechCred applications were announced Tuesday, with Lt. Gov. Jon Husted saying 293 employers were approved for funding that will provide up to 3,953 tech-focused credentials. Nearly 1,900 credentials in the May round were related to the manufacturing industry. In total, 1,891 employers have been approved for program funding to support 44,777 credentials, and around half of those businesses have received multiple awards.

This feature was provided by Hannah New Service and selected for you by OSCPA Government Relations Staff.