February 7, 2023
State of the State
Last week Governor DeWine gave his State of the State Address. During the speech he outlined his top priorities for the coming year. His plans spanned a variety of topics and priorities including:

  • Expanding mental health services, expanding mental health research in the state, and removing barriers to young people getting mental health training and jobs. 

  • Supporting families with young children by proposing to end the state sales tax on “critical infant supplies” such as diapers, wipes, cribs, car seats, strollers, and other safety equipment. This would be on top of a $2,500 tax credit per child.

  • Spending $300 million on capital improvements to career tech schools (more details below).

  • Increasing need based college tuition assistance through Ohio College Opportunity Grants (OCGC) (more details below).

  • Allocating $2.5 billion to infrastructure development to sites across the state.

  • Providing an additional $150 million in state funding to aid in the creation of additional Innovation Hubs in regions throughout Ohio (more details below).

  • Creating a state low income housing tax credit and single family housing tax credit, along with a homeowner tax incentive program.
Medicaid: Next Generation
On February 1, the Ohio Department of Medicaid launched new components of the Next Generation Program: the seven Medicaid managed care plans, the new Electronic Data Interchange, and the Fiscal Intermediary. The goal of Next Generation is to emphasize personalized care and streamline provider administrative requirements and visibility of care.

The seven Next Generation plans are AmeriHealth Caritas, Anthem, Buckeye, CareSource, Humana, Molina, and UnitedHealthcare.
Workforce & Education
As part of the 2023-24 State Budget, Governor Mike DeWine offered several new and expanded initiatives to address Ohio’s workforce challenges and provide pathways to Ohio students finding careers in Ohio. He has proposed an investment of $300 million of one-time funding for capital improvements at local career and technical education centers across Ohio. This investment will allow those centers to upgrade or refit their equipment to prepare students for careers using the latest technology and enhance the opportunities for career development in 21st century jobs.

Further, he announced that his administration plans to increase the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG), which will provide up to $6,000 per year for four years for children of working families, while also expanding eligibility requirements to assist more college-bound Ohio students. In an effort to keep top-performing high school students in Ohio, he also announced the creation of a new scholarship program that targets students graduating in the top five percent of their high school’s class. Those students would receive a $5,000 scholarship for four years, if the student attends a college or university in Ohio.

Each of these measures is designed to bolster Ohio’s educational attainment and help to ensure the success of Ohio’s students at career and technical education centers, colleges, and universities located across the state. By enacting these initiatives, the state would be better positioned to retain those talented students and match them with career opportunities that allow them to stay in Ohio and build a successful life.
Innovation Hubs
Following the creation of three Innovation Hubs in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, Governor DeWine announced his intention to provide an additional $150 million in state funding to aid in the creation of additional Hubs in regions throughout Ohio. These Hubs serve as a public-private partnership between the state, the business community, and local colleges and universities to provide research and development opportunities, enhanced economic development potential, and the development of new STEM education talent for businesses across the state.
Tax Update
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce submitted testimony in support of the federal tax conformity legislation (Senate Bill 10). For federal tax conformity purposes, Ohio is a static state meaning that Ohio needs to update its conformity with federal tax changes periodically, most often on a yearly basis. Senate Bill 10 is this year’s version of said conformity. The Ohio Chamber in its letter did ask the Ohio Senate to consider recoupling Ohio’s treatment of depreciation expenses to the federal tax treatment. Ohio does not allow full use of the depreciation even though the federal tax allows the expense to be accelerated to the first year of the expense. It is unlikely that the Ohio Senate would add this provision to SB 10. So, the Ohio Chamber will advocate for the change to be made in the operating budget.
Energy Update
The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) recently issued an order that modified the changes to the definition of transmission lines in proposed rules that were first announced in June of 2022. In the January order, the OPSB gave stakeholders until January 31, 2023, to submit comments. The Ohio Chamber originally filed comments on the rule packages back in August of 2022 raising concerns on the proposed transmission lines definition changes. The Ohio Chamber thanked the OPSB for making the modifications but also reaffirmed the comments contained within the August letter. During next week’s response comment period, the Ohio Chamber will be submitting further comments on the issue of setbacks for solar projects in support of the balanced approach announced by OPSB in its January order.