Policy Matters urges rejection of bills for deregulation, opportunity zone credit
Posted March 05, 2019 in Press Releases
Policy Matters Ohio testified before two Senate committees today, telling them to reject one bill that calls for slashing by 30 percent the rules that implement Ohio state law and another that would create a new tax credit for investors in opportunity zones.
Senate Bill 1 would have agencies examine the rules that make up the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) and develop an inventory of “regulatory restrictions” that require or prohibit an action. Under the bill, “Examples of words suggesting that a rule incorporates a regulatory restriction include ‘shall,’ ‘must,’ ‘require,’ ‘shall not,’ ‘may not’ and ‘prohibit.’” With certain exceptions, state agencies would have to reduce the total number of such “regulatory restrictions” by 30 percent by January 2023.
Zach Schiller, Policy Matters research director, told the Senate Government Oversight & Reform Committee, “a blanket idea that the words ‘shall’ or ‘prohibit’ are somehow bad words; that requiring businesses and residents alike to follow certain rules is bad for business – these are outlandish notions that have no place in legislation.”
“Regulations are necessary to a civil society and a stable economy,” he concluded. “As this testimony has outlined, they are the product of the General Assembly’s every day work.”
Senate Bill 8 would add state tax incentives to deep federal subsidies offered in low-income census tracts designated as “Opportunity Zones.” Wendy Patton, a Policy Matters Senior Project Director, told the Senate Ways and Means Committee that state tax incentives are likely to subsidize zones already experiencing rapid, high rent development that could hurt low-income residents by reducing the stock of affordable housing and driving out existing business.
“Tax breaks and tax cuts as a strategic policy have brought significant benefits for the wealthiest Ohioans, yet poverty in the state has not been reduced to pre-recession levels,” said Patton. “Senate Bill 8, if enacted, should be required to have a direct impact of alleviating poverty and increasing opportunity for low-income residents of Ohio’s Opportunity Zones.”