Governor DeWine,   


This requests you open all Ohio businesses on May 1st and offers ideas for how to do it.


I am reaching out to you to express my deep concern about the continued closure of so called "non-essential" businesses in Ohio.       


BACKGROUND


It has become clear to me that despite the nature of COVID-19 and its seriousness – we cannot allow the cost to be more expensive than the cure. While I applaud your effort to save lives, our economy is now suffering greatly. Thousands of small businesses simply will not survive this assault. As small businesses fail, this will lead to a significant decrease in tax collections and have a negative impact on all levels of government.


Our citizens have expressed frustrations as liberties were taken from them without a vote, destroying lives and livelihoods. It is already too late for some companies to recover; it will now take years for other companies to recover from the damage done by the wholesale shutdown of our state. These actions do not bode well for the confidence in our medical experts and elected officials.


We can no longer justify the continued closure of businesses across this state when supermarkets, Liquor Stores, hardware stores and other businesses that draw people can be open. For every day that passes, businesses will die reducing jobs, income, tax dollars and our states ability to fund many things, including infrastructure that need to be done. It is important that leaders throughout our state develop a plan to assist our businesses to help them return to high productivity and profitability for our region.  Furthermore, we should be prepared to weather the next crisis, whether it be financial in nature, natural disaster, or attack.


We need to provide businesses with a road map. Now, more than ever, Ohio employers need a sense of predictability. As much as possible, impacted industries need a mapped-out process of what their re-entry into more normal operations will look like and how long it will take. Time is of the essence because many business owners are barely hanging on – we need to give them as much clarity as we can about what is coming soon.


RECOMMENDATIONS


We should allow businesses to reopen with as few restrictions as possible – businesses know best how to protect their employees, customers, and vendors. If we do put any restrictions on, the state should offer a dollar for dollar tax credit so the business can accommodate state requirements (no unfunded mandates).


In the spirit of “We are all in this together” - All state legislators, the Governor and Lt. Governor should take a 20% pay cut until Ohio GDP returns to pre COVID-19 levels. Several legislator’s have already recommended this.


State budget cuts made during the pandemic will remain in place until Ohio GDP exceeds 10% of pre COVID-19 standards.


We have already adopted that Unemployment Claims during the COVID-19 pandemic will not count against an employer’s experience. Thank you. Two more unemployment issues to be adopted:


- If an individual is on and receiving unemployment benefits because of the COVID-19, as soon as their former job is available, their COVID-19 will end.


- No employee can be terminated for refusing to come back to work until they feel it is safe – If they choose not to return to work following the full opening of their businesses work sector - they will not be paid (unless an employer chooses to pay them), and they will become ineligible to receive continued unemployment compensation.   Further, the employer at his/her discretion, can eliminate or replace any position within 12 months of the business sector being opened by the Governor, without the business bearing any unemployment impact by those choosing not to return to their job.


All state license and renewal fees should be prorated to account for the days the business/individual was not able to work.


If a business is collecting an escrow account on behalf of a borrower, they are not required to pay the bills associated with the account if the borrower is behind on paying – example, a mortgage lender will not be liable for paying income tax or insurance on a residential loan if the funds are not in the account.


Commercial Activity Tax (CAT): The upcoming May 11th filing and payment deadline should be extended. In addition, CAT liability should be based off an estimate of this year’s gross receipts instead of the prior year’s gross receipts as is current practice. Numerous businesses are currently not operating so to gather the information to file and pay the taxes is also going to be difficult, not to mention the strain on cash flow. We can have a “true up” at the end of 2021.


Net operating losses (NOLs): Ohio should model what the federal government enacted under the CARES Act.For losses arising in tax years 2018, 2019 and 2020, a five-year carryback is allowed (taxpayers can elect to forgo the carryback). This law also applies to pass-through businesses and sole proprietorships. Consideration should also be given to making similar changes at the municipal level.


Other Regulatory relief suggestions:


- Extension of additional state reporting deadlines.
- Declare a moratorium on state tax audits currently underway for a reasonable period, and halt additional audits.
- Consider some way to prevent or provide relief from the lawsuits that almost certainly will be coming after the pandemic is over, such as work stoppage due to inability to meet social distancing mandates.
- Consider a meaningful sales tax holiday period for industries that were particularly hard hit due to forced closures, such as the entertainment and restaurant industries, to entice Ohioans to support those entities.


Sales Tax


Give all retailers that were forced to close because of the pandemic a 30-day sales tax holiday. Allow them to keep the tax money for 30 days. Could be a full month. For instance, if we can open on May 15, allow the tax holiday to be the full month of June.


We should offer a sales tax holiday for all PPE equipment purchased by businesses, combined with a 100% tax credit for the purchasers.


We should encourage local governments to offer a property tax reduction commensurate with the number of days non-essential business were shut down.


We should push for a Constitutional amendment giving the state legislators veto power over any Governor executive order with a super majority vote in both houses.


Warmest Regards,


George F. Lang                                                                                  Craig Riedel


State Representative                                                                      State Representative


House District 52                                                                             House District 82


 


Paul Zeltwanger                                                                               Mark Romanchuk


State Representative                                                                     State Representative


House District 54                                                                              House District 2

 
 
 
  
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