Posted By Gayla Fleming,
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, April 21, 2015
| Comments (0)
Ohio Legislative and Policy News
Mandates Study Committee Reviews Cogeneration, Solar, and Competition for
Energy Bill Rewrite - Per directions in the last legislature, a
committee of House and Senate members will review the current renewable and
alternative energy mandates according to the 2008 Energy Bill. The
committee is looking at the current standards and weighing such issues as
competition in the market place with existing energy sources and whether
renewables and alternative sources should be subsidized. There was also
discussion about combined heat and power technology (cogeneration) which is
currently included in Ohio’s energy efficiency standards and the renewable
energy portfolio. It was stated that Ohio had the greatest cogeneration
market potential of 13 mid-western states. Concerning solar production,
Ohio has 102 megawatts of solar capacity, the 20th among all states.
Solar capacity has grown exponentially in recent years with the price of
technology declining substantially.
Changes Governor’s Tax Plan - The budget bill was changed in a big way
last week as much of Governor Kasich’s tax plan was taken from the bill and
other measures were reviewed in various committees. The measures include
changes for school funding that will insure no district receives less money
than in the previous fiscal year and various Medicaid changes and other health
related issues concerning Medicaid eligibility, food banks, drug courts, and
drug addictions. The House plan includes $1.2 billion in income tax cuts
offset by projected growth in tax revenues. Among many provisions is
funding to rebuild the Buckeye Lake dam which is reportedly in grave
condition. There is also increased funding for Lake Erie algae
concerns. In general business groups including the Ohio Chamber of
Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses/Ohio, and the
Council of Smaller Enterprises welcomed the changes to the budget bill.
Liability for Small Solar and Wind Turbine Owners? The Ohio
Department of Taxation advised businesses, school districts, and local
governments that have installed solar panels and wind turbines that they could be
liable for paying taxes on electricity they produced as far back as 2009.
The tax responsibility, which includes the Ohio public utility personal
property tax and the kilowatt-hour tax, may also be for power produced from
landfill gas and other green energy systems. The taxes are normally
levied on "electrical distribution companies” but could be required for anyone
who produces electricity and sells it to someone else. The tax is
intended for facilities with "nameplate capacity” in excess of 250 kilowatts
which essentially excludes most residential users.
Proposed to Lure National Non-Profits to Ohio - Rep. Tim Schaffer
(R-Lancaster) introduced HB 133 (Tax Credits) which would allow
sales tax exemptions to encourage out-of-state non-profit corporations to
relocate jobs to Ohio. Rep. Schaffer believes Ohio is perfectly poised to
attract the association management industry to Ohio. The bill would
provide a non-refundable, three-year sales and use tax exemption to non-profits
that bring at least 50 full-time jobs to Ohio. Rep. Schaffer is the past
Executive Director of the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers and served in
similar posts for 25 years so he is familiar with non-profits and trade
associations. The bill also has tax incentives for students getting a
degree in non-profit management.
Megawatt Combined-Cycle Natural Gas Power Plant Announced for Carroll
County/AEP to Shut Down More Coal-Fired Power Plants - Developers
announced a nearly $900 million natural gas power plant received the go-ahead
for Carroll County. Carroll County Energy is one of a number of projects
of Advanced Power, headquartered in Switzerland, being built in the U.S. and
Europe Meanwhile AEP has plans to shutter two of its coal-fired power plants
in Ohio by the end of May. The two slated for closure are the 1,440 MW
Muskingum River plan in Washington County and the 100 MW Picway plant near
Remains Stable in March - The Ohio unemployment rate remained at 5.1%
in March, not changing from the February rate. Employment reached a level
of 5.385 million in Ohio. The national unemployment rate was 5.5%.
Overall employment increased 1,500 jobs for the month, while good producers
lost 5,000 positions, construction dropped 4,500 positions and mining and
logging lost 500 positions. The service sector added 4,500 jobs,
education and health services added 3,500 jobs, and government added 2,000
Family Forests Can Benefit from Death Tax
Repeal Act of 2015 (HR 1105)
Last week, by a vote of 240-179, the
U.S. House passed HR 1105, The Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015. Death
Taxes have been shown to have many impacts on jobs and the economy and in
particular the health of America’s forests, as so many are owned by private
woodland owners who often have to sell forestlands when death taxes come
due. Many have argued that eliminating death taxes is paramount in
drastically reducing the loss and parcelization of family forests throughout
the country. Listen
to an interesting story during brief testimony by Congresswoman Kristi
Noem (R-SD) who had to deal with death taxes on her family farm after her
father was killed. She made a compelling argument for repealing the death
tax as a member of a family farm and as a Congresswoman. The vote was
essentially on party lines and in Ohio all Republican House members voted for
the bill and Democrat members against.
House Committee Reviews Waters of the US
Last week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee reviewed and marked up HR 1732, the Regulatory Integrity
Protection Act of 2015, which was introduced by Committee Chairman Bill
Shuster (R-PA). In short, the legislation would force the US
EPA to withdraw the rules defining Waters of the United States (WOTUS) and to
develop a new rule that meets a number of criteria, part of which is to work
with state and local officials in crafting new definitions. The current
version would be particularly detrimental for farmers and forest landowners as
it would include and regulate virtually any natural or man-made waterway in the
country. The bill was quickly voted out of committee by a vote of 36-22,
with bi-partisan support for passage. The bill is expected to be heard by
the full House in the near future. It is expected to make its way through
the Senate, but there is a question on whether it can gather enough support to
override an anticipated Presidential veto should it get to the President’s
Trade Show to China: Furniture Manufacturing
and Supply China 2015
From September 9-12, 2015, the Ohio
Development Services Agency (ODSA) is cooperating with the Economic Development
Partnership of North Carolina, International Trade Division to attend a trade
show in Pudong, Shanghai at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention
Center. The ODSA is inviting Ohio businesses to exhibit at the trade show
and advises that the Ohio
Appalachia Export Grant (AEG) can be utilized by Appalachian small
businesses to help offset costs for attendance at the show. Briefly the
AEG can fund 50% of the cost to attend and promote products. Click on the
link above to get more information about the Ohio AEG Program. Those
interested in attending the trade show can get more information and register
for the event by contacting Mike
Hubbard via email or calling (336) 688-5027.
F&W Forestry Services Spring 2015
F&W Forestry Services manages a portion of the
southern Ohio forest lands formerly owned by the Mead Corporation and follow-up
companies. F&W also publishes quarterly forestry report, and you can
read the Spring
2015 Forestry Report here. The issue has articles on current market
situations, weather and tax concerns, commentary on February housing numbers,
Congressional action on timber taxes for landowners and the industry,
record-breaking growth for southern wood pellet exports to Europe, softwood log
and lumber exports to China, the merger of MeadWestvaco and RockTenn, and the
strong U.S. paper production starting in 2015.
Wooden Bicycle Frame – an Amazing Use of
For general interest, here is a brief
but neat article about using wood to make a handcrafted bicycle
frame. Just another example of the amazing characteristics of wood and
what can be done with God’s greatest building material.
Apple Invests in Maine Working Forest Land
According to an article
in the Maine Business News, Apple has partnered with the Conservation Fund to
invest in a 32,400 acre working forest in Maine which will keep the supply of
sustainably managed timber going to markets. The intent is to place a
conservation easement on the property so that it will stay in working forest.
- CSAW Chainsaw Training Classes. See
the OFA website
for the complete list of Chainsaw training classes. There are classes
scheduled for April and May.
- Employment Law Seminar, May 15, 2015, Dublin
Embassy Suites. See this flyer for the event.
The session is the morning of May 15 and includes a continental
breakfast. There is a $10 registration fee.
- OFA Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp,
June 7-12, 2015, FFA Camp Muskingum. Camp is approaching and sign-ups
are already taking place. Those registering before May 1 can get the
"early-bird” rate of $325, a $50 savings. Go to the OFA website for camp information.
Grading Short Course, June 8-11, 2015, Yoder Lumber Company, Millersburg, Ohio.
OFA is once again hosting the Lumber Grading Short Course at the Yoder Lumber
Company, Buckhorn Mill in Millersburg, Ohio. The course is taught by NHLA
Inspector Barry Kibbey. The fee for the course is $325 for OFA
members/$400 for non-members. You
can find information about the course here.
Summer Meeting, July 22-23, 2015, Marietta, Ohio. Maybe you’ve heard,
but the OWIN Summer Meeting will be back once again in Marietta, Ohio!
Also back by popular request is a reception on the Valley Gem Sternwheeler the
evening of July 22. On July 23, there will be golf at the Marietta
Country Club and a sporting clay shoot at Hilltop Sporting Clays in Whipple. Registration Information will soon be mailed to members.
- Forest Heritage Festival,
August 8, 2015, Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds.
- Ohio Tree Farm of the Year Tour, September
19, 2015, Sycamore
Hills Tree Farm, Harrison County.
- Paul Bunyan Show,
October 2-4, 2015, Guernsey County Fairgrounds.
This post has not been tagged.