COVID-19 Emergency Response Legislation
Last week the U.S. Congress and the Ohio Legislature convened and passed additional emergency legislation to support individuals, businesses, local governments, and state governments that are in immediate need. To be clear, Ohio cannot raise enough revenue at this point in time to fix the current situation. Ohio, and every other state, need federal assistance to make it through this crisis moment.
On Wednesday March 25th, the Ohio Legislature passed HB 197. This legislation begins the state legislative response to the COVID-19 crisis. You can read its details by clicking here.
The Governor asked his cabinet to propose 20% budget cuts.
HB 197 does nothing to make the investments Ohioans desperately need to strengthen unemployment, healthcare, housing options, or educational opportunities during this crisis.We will not be able to solve our long-term budget crisis through a cuts only approach.
Ohio needs a balanced approach to balancing our budget.
We cannot cut our way to a solution. HB 197 leaves the difficult choices around budget cuts and investments for another day. With state revenues plummeting, Ohio will need to consider new revenue to guarantee that Ohio is able to build up a resilient and strong Ohio that will be ready for the next crisis.
Congress passed the CARES Act on Friday:
The COVID-19 crisis will have long-term economic fallout for public institutions as a result of depressed revenues. Through strong federal action, the fallout can be mitigated. (DOWNLOAD THIS SUMMARY HERE)
This $2.2 trillion legislation seeks to provide aid and relief for individuals, states, and business. Here are some highlights of the legislation:
States and Local Government:
$454 billion budget stabilization fund that allows the US treasury to purchase obligations of local and state governments.
$150 billion in direct aid to states and other governments for COVID-19 related expenses.
$13.5 billion for primary and secondary education.
$25 billion for transit providers.
$14.3 billion for higher education.
$200 billion to allow businesses to retroactively lower past income and receive rebates.
$200 billion in loans to industries directly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Develops loan forgiveness rules and adjustments to bankruptcy claims.
50% refundable payroll tax credit for some businesses.
$130 billion in grants to healthcare providers.
Increases unemployment compensation temporarily by $600 a week.
Extends unemployment compensation by 13 weeks.
Opens up eligibility to independent contractors, gig workers, and freelancers (50% of state average benefit and the $600).
Expands eligibility to those who are quarantined or self-quarantined.
$1,200 for all individuals who filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 making less than $75,000 ($150,000 for married couple). Phased down for individuals who earn between $75,000 and $99,000.*
$500 for each qualifying child.
Waives some penalties and rules for early withdrawal of retirement funds.
*They will use 2018 or 2019 tax return data to generate and mail checks. Low-income taxpayers should be encouraged to file – even if not required.