Week in Review > Week in Review 10-7-2022Posted by Thomas Perkins on October 07th, 2022
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said in a press conference Thursday that Issue 2 would codify that only U.S. citizens can vote in Ohio’s elections and told reporters that has been “assumed” for decades, though cities on the East and West coasts have recently allowed non-citizen voting in local elections and the village of Yellow Springs, OH considered it. LaRose was joined by Reps. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) and Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville), Franklin County Commissioner candidate Luis Gil and Americans for Citizen Voting (ACV) President Chris Arps. Seitz and Edwards were the sponsors of HJR4, which placed the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot. LaRose went on to discuss the “administrative nightmares” that would be required to separate non-citizen ballots in local elections from ballots that include state and federal races in which they cannot legally vote. He also said that would “callously” give away the right to vote “earned” by naturalized citizens.
State revenues for the month of September came in nearly $155.5 million or 7.2 percent over estimates, according to preliminary figures released Thursday by the Office of Budget and Management (OBM). That brings Ohio’s revenues to $238.2 million or 3.6 percent over estimates through the first quarter of FY23.
The state has collected a total of $6,845.6 million over the three months compared to the estimate of $6,607.4 million. Leading the way in September 2022 was the personal income tax which came in nearly $114.6 million or 11.5 percent above estimate. Also over estimate for the month were the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) by $15.0 million or 138 percent and the auto sales tax by $27.6 million or 18.4 percent.
Under Ohio law automatically increasing the state minimum wage in line with inflation, the hourly minimum wage will increase from $9.30 to $10.10 in 2023, or from $4.65 per hour to $5.05 per hour for tipped employees. The 2006 amendment to the Ohio Constitution setting parameters for minimum wage increases calls for the wage to be tied to the Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W) for the 12-month period prior to September. From September 2021 through August 2022, CPI-W increase 8.7 percent, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce (DOC). For employees at smaller companies with annual gross receipts of less than $371,000 per year after Jan 1. 2023, and for 14- and 15-year-olds, the state minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. For these employees, the state wage is tied to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
With state agencies in the process of submitting their proposed budgets for the next biennium to the governor’s office, the Ohio Municipal League (OML) announced priorities that it said will ensure adequate funding of Ohio’s cities and villages while also providing for the health, safety and economic prosperity of millions of Ohioans. OML said it has shared its priorities with Gov. Mike DeWine’s office as well as Office of Budget and Management Director Kimberly Murnieks and the offices of House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima). “With Ohio currently being in a strong financial position, we have a great opportunity to continue strengthening the partnership between the state and its municipalities,” OML Board President Patrick Titterington, who serves as city director of the city of Troy, said. “The Ohio Municipal League’s priorities for the state operating budget cover a robust list of policy issues that are both helpful and essential to the infrastructure, programs and services provided through municipal government.” Restoration of the Local Government Fund continues to be a priority for OML.
Gifted education professionals, school treasurers and Ohio Department of Education (ODE) staff discussed Friday the data on spending for gifted services and potential improvements to how schools account for the spending. The Gifted Funding Accountability Workgroup convened for the first time at ODE headquarters. It was created in 133-SB310 (Dolan) alongside a variety of other education cost studies preceding the enactment of a new school funding formula in the latest biennial budget, HB110 (Oelslager). Aaron Rausch, budget chief for ODE, said the department intentionally waited to commence the workgroup until after passage of HB110, given expectations that it would revise gifted funding parameters, which it ultimately did. In addition to revisions to the formula, the budget also for the first time created a funding restriction that requires districts to spend their gifted funding for allowable gifted education purposes. Disallowed spending will result in reductions to overall formula funding, Rausch said.
October marks the first annual Ohio School Safety Month and will include activities developed by the Ohio School Safety Center (OSCC). The designation of October as Ohio School Safety Month was part of omnibus education bill HB583 (Bird-Jones), which was signed by Gov. Mike DeWine in June. OSCC developed the theme “Know School Safety, Know Your Role – It’s Everyone’s Responsibility” for October’s activities.
The Broadcast Educational Media Commission (BEMC) voted Thursday to approve its FY24-25 operating budget request as well as heard presentations on several projects throughout the state and on FY22 subsidy spending by Ohio broadcasters. Commission members approved the operating budget request that was recommended earlier in the week by the agency’s Finance Committee. The overall budget request amounts to $11,053,750 in each year of the biennium, an 8.46 percent increase from FY23’s $10,119,009. Some of the increases are aimed at offsetting rising energy and electricity costs. BEMC is asking for just over $4.1 million in FY24 and FY25, a 4.87 percent increase over FY23. The Statehouse News Bureau is seeking $461,206 in each year of the biennium, up 17 percent from FY23. The Ohio Channel is asking for over $2.2 million for both years, up 13 percent from FY23. The budget request also includes about $4.2 million in each year of the biennium for Ohio Public Radio and TV and Radio Reading Service (RRS), an 8.7 percent increase over FY23.
Thirteen Ohio school buildings are among nearly 300 recognized recently by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2022. Schools are recognized in two categories: exemplary high-performing schools, for those schools performing highest on state assessments or nationally normed tests; and exemplary achievement gap-closing schools, for those schools with the highest performance in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
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