Following passage of the state’s two-year operating budget, the legislature went on summer recess. The Statehouse has not been very active, although legislators can and will be introducing new legislation throughout July and August. They are scheduled to return in September, but have very few session days scheduled between now and the end of the year. Below is a brief summary of what is happening with advanced energy in Ohio right now.
State of Ohio Operating Budget
The budget, as passed and signed into law, contained a few high points for advanced energy.
The “Advanced Energy Programs” fund is used for financial assistance for eligible advanced energy projects for residential, commercial and industrial businesses, local governments, educational institutions, nonprofits, agriculture customers, and to pay for the program's administrative costs. This fund survived many other budget cuts, and the legislature earmarked $750,000 in each fiscal year from the Advanced Energy Fund to the Alternative Fuel Transportation Grant Fund.
In addition to the Advanced Energy Fund, the legislature renewed tax incentives (originally passed as Senate Bill 232 last year) for advanced-energy projects. This two-year extension will allow projects under construction by January 1, 2014, to qualify for tax exemptions from real and personal property taxes.
The end of the budget process also brought big changes for both the Ohio House and Senate membership. Two Senators (Karen Gillmor, R-Tiffin and Jimmy Stewart, R-Athens) left the Senate to pursue other opportunities. They have been replaced by Senator David Burke, R-Marysville and Senator Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville, respectively. Both Senator Burke and Senator Balderson served in the House prior to their appointments in the Senate.
The moves in the Senate now leave two vacant seats in the Ohio House of Representatives. Speaker Bill Batchelder (R-Medina) has yet to name replacements for Senators Burke and Balderson.