The country is opening up and travel is increasing, but visitors are finding the rental car landscape a bit empty.
Rental car companies are continuing to have a hard time keeping up with demand after selling off fleets to stay afloat during the pandemic.
“The fundamental thing that’s causing it is the very rational corporate response to the pandemic and the almost shutting down of international and domestic travel for most of 2020 and the first half of 2021,” Gregory Scott, spokesperson for the American Car Rental Association (ACRA), told The Center Square. “Airport rentals dropped 70-90% in March and April of last year, and as a result there were literally tens of thousands of vehicles sitting unrented and unwanted because people stopped traveling.”
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell tried to calm lawmakers’ fears about rising inflation but also said it would probably remain elevated for months to come.
Testifying before Congress this week, Powell said the Federal Reserve was willing to step in to address the situation, but that inflation should level out next year.
“As always, in assessing the appropriate stance of monetary policy, we will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and would be prepared to adjust the stance of monetary policy as appropriate if we saw signs that the path of inflation or longer-term inflation expectations were moving materially and persistently beyond levels consistent with our goal,” Powell said in his prepared testimony.
Government money that established grants for small businesses in Ohio has doubled since June and remains available, according to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.
DeWine initially established the grant program in June with $155 million in federal relief dollars. The fund doubled to $310 million at the beginning of July after DeWine signed the state’s new budget, which included the additional money approved by the General Assembly.
The money is meant to help small- and medium-sized businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ohioans victimized by unemployment fraud or were overpaid unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic could be off the hook for repaying those funds, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
ODJFS Director Matt Damschroder said late last week if a waiver is approved, claimants will not have to repay money previously labelled as an overpayment and also could receive benefits that have been withheld because of an overpayment status.
Claimants should be notified soon of how to apply for a waiver and processing could begin later in the summer, Damschroder said.
“We understand the hardships that overpayments caused during what is already a very stressful time.” Damschroder said. “Our unemployment program is in a much better position than it was a year ago.”
Celebrating Independence Day means a little more for some states than others, at least in terms of being independent and self-sufficient.
A report from personal finance website WalletHub showed which states were the most-self-sufficient, and Ohio ranked 36th in where Americans are the most self-reliant despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
To determine the ranking, WalletHub compared five sources of dependency: consumer finances, the government, the job market, international trade and personal vices. Those categories were broken down into 39 key indicators.
Paying college athletes has been a hotly debated topic for years, but now the U.S. Supreme Court has released a ruling on the issue.
A group of current and former student athletes brought the lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association, arguing that the organization violated antitrust laws when it prevented student athletes from accepting certain education-related benefits.
The case, filed in 2018, challenged the NCAA and the biggest conferences including the Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, and ACC. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the students Monday, saying the NCAA could not deny those benefits, which could include things like “scholarships for graduate or vocational school, payments for academic tutoring, or paid posteligibility internships.”
Sports bettors in Ohio are a step closer to being able to stay in state to place a wager after the Ohio Senate passed a bill legalizing sports betting and e-bingo.
If passed by the House and signed by Gov. Mike DeWine, Senate Bill 176 brings Ohio in line with neighboring Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia and Pennsylvania by allowing sports bets through retail or online sportsbooks.
The legislation passed Wednesday with a 30-2 vote.
School-choice advocates are calling the recently passed Ohio Senate budget proposal as a step in the direction toward more options for parents.
The Senate’s version of the budget includes differences negotiators still must work out with the House’s budget, but it includes a provision that allows parents to create an education savings account for afterschool care. Negotiations begin this week.
“While the new Afterschool Child Enrichment Education Savings Account program is limited, its inclusion in the budget is an important step in helping parents afford desperately-needed resources giving them the flexibility necessary to improve their children’s educational outcomes,” said Rea Hederman, executive director of the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute, a Columbus-based think tank.
A bill passed by the Ohio House would eliminate a step businesses owners must take to file taxes with the state and local governments and free up time for those owners to create more jobs and increase business, according to the bill’s sponsor.
The legislation allows businesses to opt into a system run by the Ohio Department of Taxation to pay net profits taxes to the state, and the state notifies each municipality of the taxes. Currently, business owners can decide to be part of the state’s system but must notify municipalities themselves, instead of a one-time notification.
“The current system for filing municipal net profits tax in Ohio creates unnecessary paperwork for our hard-working business owners,” Rep. Bill Roemer, R-Richfield, said. “As if the complications of the tax code itself weren’t enough, the state also requires businesses to jump through unnecessary administration hoops to meet their tax obligations. This bill streamlines and simplifies this process, so our business owners can spend more time creating jobs and contributing to our local economies, instead of complying with burdensome filing requirements.”
It may not come in time for the Fourth of July, but Ohioans could add some excitement to certain celebrations if a bill passed Wednesday by the Ohio Senate eventually clears the House and gets signed into law.
Senate Bill 113 would allow people to have consumer-grade fireworks in the state and set them off on certain days and holidays.
Ohioans would be allowed to set off fireworks on New Year’s Day; Chinese New Year; Cinco de Mayo; Memorial Day weekend; Juneteenth; July 3, 4 and 5, along with the Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays preceding and following; Labor Day weekend; Diwali; and New Year’s eve. Local communities, however, can eliminate any of those days or ban the practice entirely.
Americans in the first quarter of 2021 continued their 2020 pattern of moving from expensive, densely populated areas to warmer, more tax-affordable states, according to a new study from Updater Technologies.
Updater Technologies is an online platform that allows people to use a centralized hub for moving, including finding a moving company, connecting internet and utility services and updating their address. The company says the inbound and outbound data it uses is more reliable than tabulating mail forwarding forms because it captures fully completed permanent moves in real time. It also indexes cities and states based on population, since using raw numbers would skew toward the most populated areas based on sheer volume.
Out of roughly 300,000 household moves during the first quarter, only 16 states had a greater percentage of inbound moves than outbound: Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arizona, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Colorado, Georgia and Maine.
Advancing broadband access across Ohio became official when Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law a bill that creates a grant program that government and business groups said is critical to economic development.
DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted signed the bill Monday at Middletown’s Amanda Elementary School, along with students, Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria and Ohio Development Services Agency Director Lydia Mihalik.
“Reliable high-speed internet is a necessity for all Ohio industries, including manufacturing,” said Ryan Augsburger, president of the Ohio Manufacturers Association. “The pandemic has illuminated the need for Ohio families and businesses to efficiently access broadband in today’s technology-based economy.”
As President Joe Biden promotes his several trillion dollars in proposed federal spending, Republicans and small businesses are raising the alarm, arguing the taxes needed to pay for those spending plans are a threat to the economy.
The House Ways and Means Committee met Thursday to discuss infrastructure development and in particular the impact of proposed tax increases to pay for it. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the ranking member on the committee, argued that only 7% of Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill goes to infrastructure and that raising taxes would incentivize employers to take jobs overseas.
“As bad as the wasteful spending is, worse yet, it’s poisoned with crippling tax increases that sabotage America’s jobs recovery, hurts working families and Main Street businesses, and drives U.S. jobs overseas,” Brady said. “We cannot fund infrastructure on the backs of American workers.”
Congressional Republicans grabbed headlines this week after releasing an aggressive budget they say would cut taxes and spending, but key measures in the plan also would address one of the country’s most serious economic problems.
The House’s Republican Study Committee released a budget that lays out several measures to deal with inflation, a growing concern among economists after the latest federal data showed a spike in consumer prices. Notably, the index for used cars and trucks rose 10%, the largest one-month increase since BLS began recording the data in 1953. Food and energy costs rose 0.9% in the month of April, prescription drugs rose 0.5%, and gasoline rose 1.4% during the same month. The energy cost index rose 25% in the previous 12 months.
Republicans on the committee say their plan would address concerns over inflation by balancing the budget within five years, thereby eliminating the need to monetize debt, a process where the federal government prints money to make payments on what it owes. The national debt has soared to more than $28 trillion and is expected to continue climbing under President Joe Biden’s new spending plans.
The Fourth of July for Ohioans could come with a little more bang in 2022 if the General Assembly comes together on a pair of bills that would move the state closer to legalizing the discharge of fireworks.
While coming up short of allowing fireworks throughout the state, House Bill 253 would allow cities to legalize fireworks over July 3, 4 and 5, and it requires the state fire marshal to develop rules on how and when fireworks can be used. House Bill 172, which passed the House on Thursday, removes the statewide ban on the discharge of fireworks.
“Every year, the 4th of July is marked with family picnics and parades as a way to celebrate our nation’s birthday and the many freedoms we enjoy as Americans,” Rep. Brian Baldridge, R-Winchester, said. “Even with all this, each and every year brings disappointment when Ohio’s citizens cannot legally and honestly discharge fireworks as a means of celebrating with family, friends and neighbors.”
Ohio businesses would be able to continue to operate during a public health emergency if a bill passed by the Ohio House clears the Senate and is signed by Gov. Mike DeWine.
House Bill 215 would require businesses to comply with safety standards from government orders or regulations to stay open, but it does provide an avenue to keep businesses up in running in times of emergency.
“Small business owners had their worlds turned upside down when they were forced to shut down last year,” Rep. Jon Cross, R-Kenton, said. “Getting this bill signed into law will send a strong message that Ohio will remain open for business and keep our economy moving forward.”
Ohio Democrats continue to criticize the state’s new stand your ground law and unveiled a package of gun control legislation Monday that goes further than a proposal from Gov. Mike DeWine that has seen no movement in nearly two years.
Monday’s call comes 20 months since a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, and less than a week after another one in Indianapolis. It also comes nearly two weeks after a law that removes the duty to retreat from Ohioans to defend themselves with deadly force went into effect.
“Ohioans have spoken loudly and clearly that we need to do something to end gun violence. Democrats are listening to you, the people of Ohio who overwhelmingly support commonsense solutions to keep our kids and communities safe,” House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes, D-Akron, said Monday at a news conference. “In the 20 months since Dayton, shootings have gone up, not down. We need reform now to ensure the promise of safety and security for all Ohioans.”
In 2019, Florida homeowners accounted for 8.16 percent of the nation’s property insurance claims, but more than 76 percent of property insurance lawsuits lodged against insurers.
Pointing to this “disparity,” Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier in a five-page April 2 letter to House Commerce Committee Chair Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, outlined four proposals to reduce property insurance litigation.
Insurers cite rampant litigation, ballooning reinsurance costs, “loss creep” from 2017-18 hurricanes and coastal flooding as a “perform storm” of coalescing factors leading to double-digit property insurance rate hikes that Florida businesses and 6.2 million homeowners are seeing or will see when renewing policies.
After states shut down schools and forced families into virtual learning, parents and families found new ways to provide K-12 education to their children. While doing so, support for school choice options soared, a new poll from Real Clear Opinion Research found.
Among those surveyed, 71% said they support school choice, which is defined as giving parents the option to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school that best serves their needs. Across all racial and ethnic demographics, an overwhelming majority expressed support for school choice: Blacks (66%), Hispanic (68%), and Asian (66 percent).
These results “were the highest level of support ever recorded from major AFC national polling with a sample size above 800 voters,” the survey states.
A little more than eight months after the billion-dollar government bailout of the state’s nuclear energy industry led the arrest of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, Gov. Mike DeWine officially put it to rest.
DeWine signed House Bill 128 into law late Wednesday. It repeals the nuclear provisions of the infamous House Bill 6.
Gone is the bailout for the Perry and Davis-Besse nuclear power plants in northern Ohio. Also eliminated was the ability for FirstEnergy to have its revenue levels relatively the same even during years when energy consumption decreases. HB 128 directed refunds of money already collected under the guarantee.
An estimated 46 million people — or 18% of the country — would be unable to pay for health care if they needed it today, a recent poll conducted by Gallup and West Health found.
In another survey by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the majority of hospitals in the U.S. have yet to comply with a transparency ruling implemented this year that would help patients shop around for the most affordable prices.
Gallup’s findings are based on a poll conducted between February 15 and 21 among 3,753 adults with a margin of error of 2%.
The Ohio House has sent a message to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, urging her to abandon her plan to force a company to close a pipeline that could threaten Ohio energy supplies and jobs.
Whitmer, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Eichinger filed a lawsuit Nov. 13 in Ingham County Court demanding Enbridge Inc. cease Line 5 operations by May. The easement has been in place since 1953.
The Ohio Senate approved more than $8 billion it hopes will spur both economic development and job growth while tackling the state’s transportation needs over the next two years.
The state’s proposed transportation budget passed the Senate unanimously Thursday with some adjustments made by the Senate, including additional money for public transportation, local road projects and emergency road repair. It also requires the Ohio Department of Transportation to reopen currently decommissioned weigh stations to serve as overnight parking areas for commercial truckers.
“This transportation budget makes critical investments in Ohio’s communities and local infrastructure,” said Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima. “I am confident House Bill 74 will improve roads and infrastructure that Ohioans use every day and will enhance Ohio’s economy and promote job growth.”
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost claims in lawsuit filed Thursday a health care giant raised prices for taxpayer-funded care to maximize company profits.
Yost said Ohio sued Centene Corp. in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, alleging its subsidiary, Buckeye Health Plan, used a web of subcontractors for the provision of pharmacy benefits to be able to misrepresent pharmacy costs. That, Yost said, resulted in millions of dollars of overpayments by the Ohio Department of Medicaid.
A bill that would require local governments to approve extensions of public health emergency orders after 15 days is ready for adoption by the Missouri House.
House Bill 75, sponsored by Rep. Jim Murphy, was perfected Wednesday in a floor debate and awaits only a floor vote to be transferred to the Senate, where a raft of similar bills are matriculating in committees.
HB 75, which has already passed through the House Special Committee on Small Business and Rules – Legislative Oversight committees, would allow local public health officials to order a closure for no more than 15 days.
Last summer, millions of dollars in taxpayer money were spent in response to protests that turned violent throughout Ohio. A bill proposed in the Ohio Senate looks to make sure those responsible will pay for it.
Senate Bill 41, currently being discussed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, calls for restitution from those who are convicted of property damage during riots, including vandalism. The restitution would pay the expenses of police and emergency crews who have to respond to riots. The bill also allows the government to take possession of any property left behind by those who end up convicted.
State Senator Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, is sponsoring the bill. Lou Tobin, the Executive Director of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, offered his support before the committee recently.
One of the nation’s leading economic development publications ranked Ohio as No. 1 in its state economic and business attraction rankings for bringing more corporate facility projects per capita than any other state.
Ohio also ranked second for total projects.
Site Selection, a corporate real estate economic development magazine, recently announced its rankings as part of its 2020 Governor’s Cup.