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Week in Review: Sept. 11, 2022

Written on Sep 11, 2022

FY22-23 BUDGET

Ohio brought in 3.4% more in tax revenue than expected in August, led by income tax collections that exceeded forecasts, according to preliminary figures from the Office of Budget and Management (OBM). Income taxes generated $54.2 million or 6.8% more than expected to reach $847.6 million. Sales taxes generate $24.4 million or 2.2% more than expected to reach $1.1 billion. Non-auto sales taxes generated the bulk of that, coming in more than $17 million or 1.9% over estimates. Auto sales taxes were up $7.1 million or 3.7%. The total of $82.7 million in collections over estimates represents the entirety of collections over estimates for the fiscal year; OBM updated revenue projections for FY23 last month and so did not calculate estimates for July revenues. Total tax collections for FY23 so far are $4.5 billion, 1.9% ahead of estimates.

ELECTIONS 2022

Secretary of State Frank LaRose this week launched a new public service announcement to encourage Ohioans to register to vote for the Tuesday, Nov. 8 general election. The spot, "Voting Is about Our Future," was released in partnership with the Ohio Association of Broadcasters. It features elementary school-aged children calling on Ohio adults to make their voices heard by registering and voting.

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

The nation added 315,000 jobs in August, according to figures released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), but the national unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7% from July's 3.5% level. The biggest reason for the increase is an increase in the number of unemployed persons, which rose by 344,000 to 6.0 million. In July, these measures had returned to their levels in February 2020, prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The 315,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs added in August brings the job level to higher than its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

As expected, lawmakers won't be returning until the lame duck session after November's election, as the House and Senate both cancelled if-needed session dates for this month. The two chambers have just five voting sessions apiece scheduled for the rest of the 134th General Assembly. Cancelled are the Senate's if-needed sessions on Wednesday, Sept. 21 and Wednesday, Sept. 28, and the House's if-needed sessions on Wednesday, Sept. 14 and Thursday, Sept. 15. October's calendar includes no session dates. The chambers are then scheduled to take a week's break for Thanksgiving before returning for a few more sessions:

Wednesday, Nov. 30: House and Senate

Thursday, Dec. 1: House

Wednesday, Dec. 7: Senate

Wednesday, Dec. 14: House and Senate

Wednesday, Dec. 21: House and Senate

INTEL

White House officials opened a "Communities in Action" series of discussions with local elected officials and community leaders by focusing on Ohio Wednesday, including a forum streamed for public viewing. American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Coordinator Gene Sperling moderated the forum after opening comments by White House Director of Public Engagement Keisha Lance Bottoms on President Joe Biden's commitment to workers and unions and federal funds that have gone to Ohio. She said that includes $2.8 billion from the infrastructure bill already supporting over 125 projects, with $2.3 billion coming this year as well. Sperling said the administration has worked to build from the "middle-out" rather than with a top-down approach and seeks an equitable recovery as well. This has led to nearly 10 million jobs created and record unemployment declines across racial groups. Inflation is also being addressed by the Biden administration, he continued.

TRANSPORTATION/INFRASTRUCTURE

Gov. Mike DeWine said Friday that the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is now accepting applications for funding as part of the Local Major Bridge Program, which provides federal funds to counties and municipalities for bridge replacement, bridge rehabilitation and bridge demolition projects. DeWine had announced in April that more locally-owned bridges would be eligible for funding as part of the program. Modified program requirements opened eligibility to 238 bridges, up from 54. During the current funding cycle, the program will pay up to 95 percent of the construction and engineering costs for major bridge projects, with a cap of $20 million.

UNIONS

Workers at Disability Rights Ohio (DRO), the nonprofit designated under federal law to advocate for Ohioans with disabilities, are seeking to form the DRO United union, affiliated with the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU). "We believe that forming a union will promote transparency, ensure equity, increase staff well-being and retention, and add to the long list of reasons why we are proud to work at DRO. As a union, we will build a stronger, more sustainable organization for all staff, the people we serve, and partners we work with. We want your support in this," states a late August letter from employees to DRO leadership. However, leadership of the organization has declined to voluntarily recognize the union, instead opting for an election through the National Labor Relations Board.

WORKFORCE

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Director Matt Damschroder Tuesday kicked off National Workforce Development Month by announcing a new outreach effort to help unemployed Ohioans quickly find new jobs. Through the Helping Ohioans Pursue Employment (HOPE) initiative, the department now emails unemployment applicants extensive information about the free in-person, employment services available at the state's 88 OhioMeansJobs Centers, in addition to the self-service features available at OhioMeansJobs.com. This is the first of several workforce development announcements that will occur throughout September.

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