Latest News

Week in Review: Nov. 13, 2022

Written on Nov 13, 2022

ATTORNEY GENERAL

Ohio and 39 other states have reached two settlements with credit-reporting agency Experian over data breaches in 2012 and 2015 that compromised the personal information of millions of consumers nationwide, Attorney General Dave Yost announced Monday. Separately, a settlement has been reached with T-Mobile stemming from the 2015 Experian data breach, which affected more than 15 million people who submitted credit applications to the telecommunications company. As part of the trio of settlements, Experian and T-Mobile have agreed to improve their data-security practices and to pay 40 states a combined $16.1 million, with most of that money coming from Experian.

AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY

Lordstown Motors Corporation (LMC) will receive an investment of $170 million from Hon Hai Technology Group, known as Foxconn, according to an announcement by the two companies Monday. Foxconn and LMC entered a strategic partnership in November 2021. The investment represents $70 million worth of LMC's Class A common stock and up to $100 million of a newly created Series A Convertible Preferred Stock. LMC said it will use proceeds from the common stock for "general corporate purposes.” The preferred stock proceeds will go to fund development and design activities for a new electric vehicle program in collaboration with Foxconn.

BALLOT ISSUES

Both state issues on the ballot Tuesday won by overwhelming margins of 77 percent. State Issue 1 requires courts to consider factors such as public safety when setting bail amounts, while Issue 2 prohibits local governments from allowing non-electors to vote in their elections. Proponents of Issue 1 responded to the victory, with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost saying that it had been less than 10 months since the DuBose decision which prompted the issue.

FY22-23 BUDGET

Ohio's Office of Budget and Management Monday announced that state revenues came in $111.6 million or 5.1% over estimates for October. Driving the overage were the sales taxes (auto and non-auto) and the personal income tax which brought in $48.2 million and $43.7 million, respectively, over estimates. Specifically, those numbers break down as follows:

- Non-Auto Sales Tax collections were $40.2 million or 4.3% above the monthly estimate.

- Auto Sales Tax collections were $8.0 million or 5.2% above estimate.

- Personal Income Tax collections were $43.7 million or 6.1% above estimate for the month.

- The Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) performed above estimate by $10.4 million or 11.1%.

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, the national unemployment rate rose to 3.7% in October as total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 261,000 jobs. BLS said the number of unemployed persons rose by 306,000 to 6.1 million in October. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (3.4%) and Whites (3.2%) rose in October. The jobless rates for adult men (3.3%), teenagers (11.0%), Blacks (5.9%), Asians (2.9%) and Hispanics (4.2%) showed little or no change over the month.

IMPACT OHIO

Further tax cuts should not be the focus of the next biennial budget, House Majority Floor Leader Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) said Thursday during the Ohio Chamber of Commerce's Impact Ohio 2022 Post-General Election Conference at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. "I am sure, given our massive Republican super-majorities in the House and in the Senate, that there will be an outcry for further tax cuts, including some rather unachievable ideas like, 'Let's eliminate the income tax and the Commercial Activity Tax.' I guess we could be like the federal government and print money that doesn't exist ... but there will be pressure, as there always is, to provide further tax cuts. Against that, however, realism must set in," Seitz said. "We are in a period of rampant inflation. It is providing upward pressure on wages. It is providing upward pressure on food prices and upward pressure on gas prices," Seitz continued. "You say, 'What does that have to do with the state government?' Well, our hospitals and nursing homes feed a lot of people. Their costs have gone through the roof. Our hospitals and nursing homes are facing workforce shortages, and Medicaid funds those operations. The upward pressure on wages results in the need to adjust their compensation, and hopefully we'll get some of that done here yet in lame duck for the nursing homes, but those pressures are real, and I don't see them subsiding." Seitz said gas prices can also affect the state budget, pointing to ambulance providers that have contracts with Medicaid. He also emphasized the importance of properly funding the Cupp-Patterson school funding formula and urged support for some of Gov. Mike DeWine's proposals, such as his packages on mental health and early childhood education.

TRANSPORTATION/INFRASTRUCTURE

Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jack Marchbanks told Hannah News that the state agency has received $250 million so far from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and will be putting the funding through existing programs and projects that have already been deemed necessary. In addition to the $250 million received by the state in the first year from the bill, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, another $67 million was passed through to the regional metropolitan planning organizations, $40 million has gone directly to local governments, and other funds have gone directly to programs such as Safe Streets. Marchbanks said ODOT is using the $250 million to beef up formula programs, help the Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) with its project list, and increase funding for safety programs -- an initiative of the DeWine administration.

The DeWine administration announced $121 million in state funding Friday for new traffic safety projects including roughly two dozen roundabouts statewide. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), whose Highway Safety Improvement Program is providing the money, says existing Ohio roundabouts had only six traffic deaths between 2017-2021 compared to 1,126 deaths at intersections with signals or stop signs.

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