Author: AIA Ohio

BWC Approves Flexible Payment Plans

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors on April 24 approved a plan to allow private employers to pay for their annual workers’ compensation premiums in two, four, six or 12 installments as part of its move to a new prospective billing system.  Under the new system, businesses will be billed prior to receiving coverage instead of the previous system of billing employers after they have received coverage. The signing of 130-HB493 (Sears-Henne) allowed for the transition to the new system.  “Prospective billing is not only the standard across the insurance industry, it will bring a number of benefits to Ohio employers, including the $1.2 billion in premiums BWC will pay on their behalf as we make the transition,” BWC Administrator Steve Buehrer said. “We’re pleased to offer more flexibility as part of our ongoing efforts to modernize our operations and provide the quality service that Ohio employers expect.” Businesses can expect to receive their first notice of estimated annual premium in early June for the 2015 policy year, according to a news release from BWC.   “Beginning July 1, businesses will pay an estimated premium for the upcoming coverage year and undergo a payroll ‘true-up’ process after the policy year ends to ensure the proper premium was paid,” BWC said. “As part of the previously announced $1.2 billion premium credit to ease transition costs for...

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Controlling Board to Hear $100 Million School Projects Request

An Ohio commission will ask the Controlling Board on Monday for release of $100 million from lottery profits to finance more than 30 school district projects. The Ohio School Facilities Commission (SFC) is asking for approval of $100 million from a larger $350 million sum approved in a mid-biennium review (MBR) bill and the previous capital budget. Bills 130-HB497 (Amstutz) and 130-HB492 (Scherer) provide for the commission to receive the money for the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program through the Lottery Profits Education Fund. The commission is seeking release of the $100 million that will come partially from video lottery terminal licensing fees from the Ohio Lottery, according to the request. The requested amount “will be used to provide the state share of basic project costs” to school districts approved by the SFC. A district’s relative wealth “as measured through its three-year average adjusted valuation per pupil and the need to replace classroom facilities as assessed by SFC” are the determinants for its eligibility and priority in the program. The appropriation would fund 38 school...

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Strips Most Kasich Tax Proposals from Budget Bill

House Approves 6.3% Income Tax Cut After weeks of studying the sweeping proposals from Gov. John Kasich in his executive budget for FY16-17, House Republicans unveiled their version Tuesday that largely strips out the proposed sales tax expansion to consultants and others as well as the severance, tobacco and CAT taxes and dedicates more money to school districts so that fewer will lose funds in the next biennium. The House proposal will give a 6.3 percent across-the-board income tax cut beginning in Tax Year 2015 worth $1.2 billion over the biennium, which will lower the top tax rate to 4.997 percent. The substitute bill will also make the 75 percent small business tax deduction that was adopted by the 130th General Assembly permanent. House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) says he believes in the direction Kasich is trying to take the state long term, but said he wanted to give businesses tax certainty and get everyone on the same page as they move along the path that Kasich has laid out in his executive budget.    To that end, the substitute bill includes the creation of the 2020 Tax Policy Study Commission, which will examine the state’s tax policies in comparison to other states. Rosenberger said it will include members of the House and Senate as well as the tax commissioner and budget director to look at tax policies and make...

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Personal and Business Income Tax Cuts Still in Play: House House Set To Strip Kasich Tax Plan From Budget

Personal and Business Income Tax Cuts Still in PlayHouse Republicans as expected will delete nearly all of Gov. John Kasich‘s ambitious tax overhaul from the biennial budget when the chamber unveils its first rewrite of the $72.3 billion spending plan.   The majority caucus will roll out its substitute version of the bill (HB 64) during a House Finance & Appropriations Committee hearing Tuesday. The committee will hold further hearings on the new measure Wednesday-Friday with plans to put the final touches on the bill and send it to the Senate the following week.   The House GOP’s plans to gut most of the governor’s tax package should come as no surprise to Capitol Square observers, as many in the caucus have been vocal about their opposition. Most of the testimony and comments fielded thus far have also been negative, including a resounding thumbs-down from the state’s key business groups, including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.    And last month several caucus members expressed support for scrapping most of the proposal, which would have cut personal income taxes by about $5.7 billion while raising sales and other taxes to cover some $5.2 billion of that revenue loss.   Mr. Kasich has pushed the wide-ranging tax code rewrite as the next step in shifting Ohio’s tax base away from income and toward a consumption-based system to better reflect the state’s increasingly service-based...

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Ohio Marks 200 Schools with LEED Certification

Ohio’s school construction program has reached the 200 mark for facilities earning certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, program. The Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) said Wednesday that Violet Elementary in Pickerington schools is the 200th such facility. According to the commission, Ohio’s certified schools are on average 33 percent more efficient in energy usage and 37 percent more efficient in water usage. “All of the OSFC projects encourage the use of products and components that are at least partially recycled and are recovered or manufactured within a 500-mile radius of the project,” OSFC stated. In addition to the 200 certified schools, 140 are registered with LEED, meaning they are at some stage of the design, construction or review process, according to the commission. Ohio has required each project design to seek at least a LEED Silver certification since 2007. Three schools in Ohio have attained the highest certification, Platinum, said OSFC. “These 200 projects, which represent a commitment to both our school children and the future of our environment, are the direct result of innovative team work from architects, construction managers, trade contractors, and our project partners, the local school districts. I commend them for their accomplishments,” OSFC Interim Executive Director David Chovan said in a statement. “On behalf of the entire USGBC community, I commend the state of...

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