By now many of you are aware that the Ohio House overrode 11 vetoes by Governor Kasich when we last met in July. As I write this, the Senate is preparing to meet to engage in the same process. It remains to be seen how many vetoes the Senate will override, but like those of the House, their action will be historic given the fact that the last time Ohioans experienced such an event, Jimmy Carter was in the first few months of his Presidency.That being said, there are a number of policies in the budget that directly impact the residents of the 99th District. In this column, I’ll detail three such policy initiatives.
That being said, there are a number of policies in the budget that directly impact the residents of the 99th District. In this column, I’ll detail three such policy initiatives.
First, the 2017 Sales Tax Holiday weekend from two weeks ago was extended into 2018 thanks to a Senate amendment. We know for certain that, come early August next year, school supplies and clothing will not be taxed during that weekend – you can mark your calendars now.
It was my pleasure to, once more, be a joint sponsor of the companion legislation, House Bill 89, to the Senate version that created the Sales Tax Holiday. For us, located near Pennsylvania and its shopping centers and outlets which do not charge sales tax on clothing, the tax holiday helps save families money in our community and helps our businesses to enjoy a stimulus equal to, from the view of many, Black Friday. I fully understand and appreciate what this means to our families, our businesses, and our communities, which is why I have been an adamant supporter of this legislation during my service in the House.
Second, knowing how important agriculture is to the 99th District, I sponsored an amendment in the budget to fund a pilot program that creates a local food coordinator, right here in Ashtabula County. This person will serve as an intermediary to better connect locally grown and raised food with local consumers, schools, hospitals and restaurants. The entire process will be carefully documented so that, through our example, other areas of the state may replicate our efforts.
It is my hope that, not only will our producers and consumers be better linked, but with the economy of scale, we will be able to drive down costs, offer comparable services to private citizens, and stimulate our agricultural economy to the point where additional jobs will be created. “Grow local, buy local, consume local” is the mantra of the day.
Finally, House Bill 23, which I jointly sponsored with Rep. Kristin Boggs of Columbus, was also included as an amendment in the budget. This legislation, which will become effective Oct. 1, will permit spirit-infused ice cream to be produced and sold on premises in small quantities of 4 pints or less per day. Specifically, this will benefit the Heavenly Creamery of Conneaut and other such small businesses as they seek to expand their line of products to meet consumer tastes and demands.
It was my pleasure to work with my colleagues to include the Sales Tax Holiday, the local food coordinator and the “ice cream amendment” into the state budget — all which directly impact those of us who call the 99th District home.
As always, I will continue to work diligently for you — for in the final analysis, we share “Our District and our Future.”