Speaking to reporters on a conference call Wednesday, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown outlined a list of goodies coming Ohio’s way following the anticipated passage of an omnibus appropriations funding bill now in the Senate.
Sen. Brown spoke about his work to secure funding for Piketon, Lake Erie, Military Construction, NASA Glenn, and CMAX Bus Rapid Transit Project, among other items included in the bill.
Brown Brings Bacon Home To Ohio
“This is a good deal for Ohio’s working families,” he said, noting the contrast this budget has been from previous ones that sought to shut down government or put it on a diet through sequestration. “This year was no different, but people came around,” he said. In the past, sequestration has dried up funding, but “now we’re getting out from sequestration.”
Up for reelection again in two years, Sen. Brown touted a five-year extension of the New Markets Tax Credit in the year-end spending bill because it will help communities across Ohio revitalize low-income areas.
“Local entities in Ohio depend on the New Markets Tax Credit to help them finance major investment projects in their communities,” he said. “This five-year extension means more capital will be funneled into revitalization efforts in low-income communities. Efforts like these build up our state and grow our economy.”
Reporters were reminded that Mr. Brown helped pass legislation last year that would extend the NMTC, which incentivizes community developers to invest in low income areas. The NMTC was included in the Senate Finance Committee’s tax extenders package that passed out of committee in 2014.
GOP Debate Helps Hillary Win
Sen. Brown like many others watched the 5th and final Republican debate of this year. Asked if he thought it made him more or less anxious about the challenges confronting the Democratic nominee next year, the two-term Senator said he “feels very good about Democratic chances” and lauded the party’s expected nominee, Hillary Clinton, for her understanding of foreign policy.
He likened her appearance before a House special committee on Benghazi to a giant against pygmies. “She showed she knows how to deal with foreign policy issue,” he said, adding that he saw no one on stage last night in Las Vegas who could match her. Biased for his party and its nominee, Sen. Brown said he expects Mrs. Clinton to be the next president.
Brown’s Federal Budget Funding Highlights
- Brown’s Proposal to Permanently Extend Anti-Poverty Tax Credits for Working Families was Included in New Tax Extenders Bill
- Piketon: The Fiscal Year 2016 appropriations bill will fully fund continued cleanup work at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon. After WARN notices were sent to employees, Brown helped fund decontamination and decommissioning operations at the plant through Dec. 11 and ensured that no layoffs would occur at the site during that time.
- Lake Erie: The spending bill includes funding to help protect Lake Erie from harmful algal blooms, restore habitats, and improve water quality by funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). The bill also includes language Brown drafted prohibiting open-lake disposal of dredged material into Lake Erie.
- Military Construction: Three Ohio Military bases will receive approximately $19 million in funding to make much needed facility improvements.
- Security Funding: $50 Million in funding was included under the bill to provide needed security funding for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
- NASA Glenn: Brown worked to secure additional funding to support missions at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.
- CMAX Bus Rapid Transit Project: The Central Ohio Transit Authority’s CMAX Bus Rapid Transit line project will receive $38 million to complete a project that will link the northeast suburbs with downtown Columbus, connecting residents to major employment centers, medical facilities, and educational institution.
- $50 million for Republican National Convention in Cleveland
- Permanent extension of expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit.
- Research and Development Credit: The Research and Development Credit encourages innovation and allows companies to deduct the expense of research, development, and hiring of workers to conduct R&D.
- Section 179: Section 179 supports small businesses by allowing them to deduct the cost of new or used depreciable assets – like equipment and computer software. The bill will increase the amount a company can expense. It will also accelerate the depreciation schedule, so that companies expensing more than the annual allowable deduction can get their money faster. In addition, Section 179 is critical to providing Ohio farmers with the flexibility they need to replace equipment and vehicles.
- Alternative Minimum Tax: The bill modifies the Alternative Minimum Tax so that companies can accelerate their AMT credits instead of including bonus depreciation or regular accelerated depreciation in their income tax liability. This is important for many of Ohio’s manufacturing companies who accumulated AMT credits during the economic downturn.
- Work Opportunity Tax Credit: The Working Opportunity Tax Credit helps employers hire individuals from targeted groups – like low-income Americans, veterans, or others with considerable barriers to gaining employment – by offering a tax credit based on the type of employee, their hours, and their wages. This includes veterans, Temporary Assistance for Needed Families (TANF) recipients, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients, former felons, supplemental security income recipients, and other select groups. The bill authorizes an extension of the credit to target the long-term unemployed who have struggled to reenter the workforce.
Sen. Brown said the funding for Piketon was a huge victory, attributing it to his working relationship with Energy Secretary Moniz. “These jobs stay in Ohio and are funded,” he said
He also noted that the tax credits were secured when Democrats stood their ground and said there would be no cuts for business if there weren’t also tax cuts for working families.
Touching on the medical devices tax in Obamacare, a tax Republicans and some Democrats don’t like, Sen. Brown said he expects it to come back in two years when a new president is installed, presumably a Democrat, and lawmaker stop trying to repeal it.
Democrats like Brown also won on other hot-button topics. Left out of the bill was any restrictions on the implementation of net neutrality, along with Planned Parenthood defunding and the Iraqi and Syrian refugee ban. The bad news is that the so-called House Freedom Caucus won’t vote for it. The good news is that most of off-putting stuff they wanted did not make it into the bill.