Hot Issues & Legislation
The Chamber works on your behalf to bring you the latest issues and pending legislation that may impact your business.
Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce Supports City of Toledo Three-Quarter Percent Temporary Income Tax Ballot Issue
The Board of Trustees of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce has voted to support the City of Toledo’s ¾ percent temporary income tax renewal being placed on the ballot this November. The current tax is set to expire December 31, 2016.
Earlier this year, the Chamber had opposed increasing the ¾ percent temporary income tax to a 1 percent temporary tax pending a third-party review of the city’s current budget. To help accomplish this, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce committed up to $44,500 toward hiring the Center for Priority Based Budgeting (CPBB) to assist the City in prioritizing resource allocation to the programs and services most vital to our businesses and residents. CPBB began working with the City of Toledo on this process in early July.
“The Chamber is encouraged by the City’s commitment to working with the Center for Priority Based Budgeting to not only address the current budget situation, but create a plan for future long-term financial stability,” said Wendy Gramza, President of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Renewing the current three-quarter percent temporary income tax will safeguard the continuation of vital city services while this work takes place.”
The ¾ percent temporary income tax was first approved by Toledo voters in 1982 and has been extended by subsequent ballot issues, most recently in 2012. This is a flat tax applied on all wages earned within the City, and by Toledo residents working outside of the City.
Unemployment Compensation Debt Issue Resolved
On May 25, the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate approved legislation that will pay off the balance of the federal loan related to unemployment compensation. The bill is now awaiting Governor Kasich’s signature. This is an issue that has been a high priority in the Toledo Regional Chamber’s advocacy efforts on behalf of our members.
As a result of these efforts, employers will see a dramatic decrease in their federal unemployment tax (FUTA) rate starting in 2017. Ohio employers currently pay $147 on the first $7,000 of every employee. Had the loan to federal government not been repaid by November, that tax would have increased to $168 per employee. The actions by the legislature will save employers in the Toledo region millions of dollars in additional taxes. In January, the full FUTA credit will be restored dropping the amount employers to just $42 per employee.
The loan will be repaid by taking a one-time loan from the state’s unclaimed funds account to the Unemployment Compensation Fund. It is expected that this amount will be between $220M and $240M. It is required that the loan to the unclaimed funds account must be repaid by the end of February 2018, through a one-time charge of approximately $45 per employee in 2017. The reduced FUTA rate and one-time loan repayment will still be almost 50% less than if the federal loan was not repaid by November.
Although the unemployment debt issue has provided relief to businesses in the short-term, the Chamber remains committed to working with legislature and the Administration to address the long-term solvency of the state’s unemployment compensation system. Work will continue on this issue over the summer and we expect action to be taken by the legislature in the fall.
180th Fighter Wing Answers U.S. Air Force F-35A Data-Call
The 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio National Guard, is one of 18 Air National Guard installations across the nation that responded to a data-call by the U.S. Air Force to help determine the next two recipients for the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter.
Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman, Ohio adjutant general and former 180FW commander, "Currently the 180FW, with its Block 42 F-16s, provides protection to more than 60 percent of the U.S. population and deploys around the globe to address all threats...With the conversion to the F-35A's advanced stealth, integrated avionics, and sensor fusion the 180FW can maintain its position as a premier fighter unit in the U.S. Air Force."
Letters of support from government and community leaders
Ohio BWC Prospective Billing – Next Steps
July 1, 2015 Premium Year
BWC will require all State Fund private employers to go online between July 1 and August 15, 2016 & “true-up” their payroll. That means reporting your actual number of employees and actual payroll from 7/1/15 – 6/30/16 and paying any shortage in premiums during the past year. You will be able to true-up your payroll and make a payment in the future (but prior to 8/15/16). If you overpaid premiums, BWC will issue a credit on your next invoice.
July 1, 2016 Premium Year
Employers received their Estimated Annual Premium (EAP) letter for the new fiscal year in early May, 2016. Your first installment will be due on 6/30/2016 and provide coverage from 7/1/16 – 8/31/16.
Other States Coverage
The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation has provided the following information about other states coverage and the trucking industry.
According to BWC, "of all the classes of business operations, trucking always creates confusion about how to provide proper coverage and how to rate workers’ compensation insurance. A trucking company can be located in one state, the truck driver can live in another state, and an injury can occur in a third state. Long haul drivers can cross multiple state lines in one day. For trucking companies who have Ohio’s State Insurance Fund coverage and BWC’s Other States Coverage, we have simplified payroll reporting procedures with the operational scenarios found later in this document. Our goal is to assign the payroll to the state where the claim is most likely to occur and prevent double reporting of payroll."
BWC is encouraging employers to establish e-accounts for payments. This E-account is required to make payments online for the private employer true-up that will take place for the first time under prospective billing between July 1st and August 15th. With over 100,000 employers not set-up to pay this way yet, BWC is concerned the phone call load will be heavy and frustrating. While BWC is making provisions to increase the amount of staff manning the phones during this time, delays can still be likely and so we are encouraging employers to get their E-account set up to avoid the need to call BWC to complete the true-up process. Below is the link to the short video explaining how employers can set up their E-account with BWC.
Proposed rules from the EEOC may require additional reporting
On January 29, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) proposed to revise the Employer Information Report (EEO-1) to include pay data. Currently, this report requires employers to report the number of employees they have by job category and then by ethnicity, race, and sex.
Under the proposal, if you are not currently required to file the EEO-1, you would not be required to do so under the new reporting requirements. Under this proposal:
• Federal contractors with 49 or fewer employees would not file the EEO-1. This is current practice.
• Federal contractors with 50-99 employees would not report pay data. But they would report ethnicity, race, and sex by job category, like they do now.
• Private employers with 99 or fewer employees that are not federal contractors would not file the EEO-1 at all. This is the same rule that applies now.
It is expected that the information relating to pay would be due on September 30, 2017.
The opportunity for businesses to comment on the proposed rule is open until April 1, 2016.
The proposed rule can be found here.
A fact sheet from the EEOC can be found here.
Municipal Income Tax Reform Law
Provisions passed in House Bill 5, the municipal income tax reform law, went into effect this year. Municipalities are currently amending existing income tax codes to incorporate the new law’s provisions, and your business should be prepping now too in order to be ready by year end. Click HERE for a more in-depth look at the changes that may impact your business.
Preparing for DOL Changes to White Collar Exemptions
On May 18th President Obama and Labor Secretary Perez announced the publication of the Department of Labor's final rule updating the overtime regulations, increasing the standard salary level from $455 to $913 per week ($47,476 annually for a full-year worker) and the highly compensated employee total annual compensation requirement from $100,000 to $134,004 per-year effective December 1, 2016.
More information is provided here from James B. Yates, Esq., SHRM-SCP, SPHR and Sarah E. Pawlicki, Esq., SHRM-SCP, SPHR of Eastman & Smith, Ltd, Attorneys at Law.
Military Affairs/180th Fighter Wing
Supporting those who defend us, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce has taken the lead in working with the various military units and support organizations in the region. Through the Military Affairs Committee, military units and support organizations meet on a regular basis to explore the needs of the units and service members.
In addition to providing their vital national security role, the units and their members have a tremendous economic impact on the region. For example, the Ohio Air National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing, based at Toledo Express Airport, alone has an impact more than $100M annually.
During the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round, the Chamber spearheaded the efforts to retain the 180th in Toledo. Due to the efforts of the Chamber and the community the 180th was not only retained, it increased the number of aircraft and now provides a critical homeland security mission.
Currently the Chamber is assisting with efforts to bring the F-35, the latest joint strike fighter, to the 180th. We strongly believe that the latest military aircraft should be flown and maintained by the best.
Whether it is helping to connect servicemen and women with the services they need or helping to bring the latest F-35 aircraft to the region, the Chamber is committed to working with and enhancing all of the units in the region.
Ohio’s eight metropolitan chambers of commerce and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce joined together to produce this report. It offers a road map for long-term, transformational change as well as meaningful recommendations for tackling the state's current fiscal crisis. This report includes an analysis of Ohio's existing economic situation, a review of best practices from other states and recommendations that range from the way our state budget is developed to specific productivity improvements.
Redesigning Ohio - Full Report
US Chamber of Commerce - https://www.uschamber.com/
Ohio Chamber of Commerce - http://ohiochamber.com/
Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition - http://greatlakesmetrochambers.com/
*The views and opinions expressed in these resources are those of the organizations and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce.