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Week in Review: Oct. 1, 2023

Written on Sep 29, 2023


Supporters of a constitutional amendment initiative campaign that would remove elected officials from the redistricting process filed a petition summary for the third time Friday, Sept. 22 after making more revisions in response to Attorney General Dave Yost's latest rejection. Yost has twice rejected the summary as not providing a fair and truthful summary of the proposed amendment, most recently for omissions regarding the definition of political affiliation. The amendment, supported by the campaign group Citizens Not Politicians, would create a 15-member Ohio Citizens Redistricting Commission consisting of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, barring current or former elected officials from serving.


The DeWine administration and Ohio Department of Development (DOD) announced Monday that the $600 million onshoring grant to support Intel's manufacturing campus had been disbursed, saying it shows the state is delivering on its commitments. An agreement on that funding was finalized in June, providing $300 million for each of the two chip factories, or fabs. The announcement in turn noted Intel has committed to creating 3,000 jobs, $405 million in annual payroll and over $20 billion in fixed asset investment by Dec. 31, 2028. As part of the agreement, Intel will be required to provide annual performance reports beginning March 1, 2024. Those will include the amount of grant funds distributed, how they were used, total investment per year, cumulative amount invested in the project and numbers of new jobs and payroll created. There will also be a description of the construction activity for each fab; data on aggregate amounts of purchases made from all suppliers, including megaproject suppliers; the aggregate amount expended on research and development activities at the site; the total number of employees working there and which counties they reside in; and a summary of the supply chain activity in support of the project.

Gov. Mike DeWine's administration announced Monday the approval of assistance for six projects expected to create 332 new jobs and retain 926 jobs statewide. During its monthly meeting, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) reviewed economic development proposals brought by JobsOhio and its regional partners. The projects are expected to collectively result in more than $27 million in new payroll and spur more than $426 million in investments across Ohio.


August homes sales dropped by close to a fifth compared to activity a year earlier, but prices rose, according to Ohio Realtors. Sales figures of 12,730 represented a 17.2 percent decline from the 15,380 sales seen in August of 2022. The average sales price of $285,305 last month represented a 6.6 percent increase from the average price a year earlier of $267,610.

Local governments told lawmakers Tuesday of their efforts to update decades-old zoning codes to enable more and faster housing development. Officials from Columbus, Lancaster and Gambier were among numerous witnesses testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Housing. Columbus City Council member Rob Dorans discussed the city's ZoneIn initiative, meant to update a 70-year-old zoning code and cut down on the voluminous variance requests that regularly come before council and are a cause of year-plus delays in building approvals. The effort for now is focused on about 50 corridors identified as likely sites of both housing development and upgraded public transit services to help residents reach employment and necessities. Dorans said the update is not about allowing anyone to build anything they want wherever they want, but he noted many parts of the city aren't zoned to even allow a duplex.


The Ohio Redistricting Commission late Tuesday unanimously passed new House and Senate maps that will lock in a Republican majority until the end of the decade. The two Democrats on the commission -- Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) -- said that while they were voting for the plan and that it was better than what was originally adopted as the working document last week, the process was still broken and should be taken out of the hands of politicians. According to co-chair Auditor Keith Faber, the new map would see 20 Republican, three lean Republican, nine Democratic, and one lean Democratic seats in the Senate. There would be 58 Republican, three lean Republican, 30 Democratic seats, and eight lean Democratic seats in the House.


As legislators work on priority legislation addressing the runup in property values and attendant tax increases, the Senate Ways and Means Committee chair suggested Wednesday the possibility that county budget commissions could be authorized to provide relief. The committee heard proponent testimony Wednesday on SB153 (Lang), which would require basing property valuations on a three-year average of sales for 2023 through 2025. The House Ways and Means Committee recently reported out a similar measure, HB187 (Hall-Bird). Sen. Louis Blessing (R-Cincinnati), chair of the committee, said it's theoretically possible but practically unlikely that taxing districts, most of them schools, would in large numbers ask county budget commissions to reduce taxes and forego unanticipated revenue increases driven by the valuations. However, he asked a witness his thoughts on giving budget commissions the power to act unilaterally to reduce taxes, with some guardrails put in place.


In recognition of September's being "National Workforce Development Month," the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced Monday it has provided ApprenticeOhio employers and sponsors with nearly $1.6 million in reimbursement for training and tools under a year-long program.

Seventy-five employers and sponsors received this reimbursement, according to ODJFS, and the assistance has helped train 698 apprentices. The grants were made possible through federal funding.

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

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