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Higher Ed Legislative Update & How to Give a “Free” Campaign Contribution!

No Mention of Workload in HB 484; HB 483 Could Impact Your 403(b) Plan

HB 484

House Bill 484, which contained the higher education components of the mid-biennium review (e.g. the state budget corrections legislation), has been passed by the General Assembly and sent to the Governor for his signature.

Thanks to our lobbying efforts, especially testimony given to legislative committees by OCAAUP President John McNay, the language in the original bill that called for a 10 percent increase in faculty workload was not included in the final version of the bill. 

The final bill mainly tweaks funding formula issues, but also creates a Higher Education Student Financial Aid Workgroup, which is to make a report to the Governor and General Assembly on financial assistance that is available to students.

The bill specifically invites a number of associations to have a representative as part of this workgroup, but unfortunately, leaves out having a faculty representative. However, the bill allows the Chancellor of the Board of Regents to appoint additional members to the committee, and we are working with the Ohio Faculty Council to push for a faculty representative.

HB 483

House Bill 483 was the main budgetary bill of the mid-biennium review. In addition to state funding issues, this omnibus piece of legislation contained numerous policy changes, including one that was pushed by the Inter-University Council (IUC), as well as large annuity providers like TIAA-CREF, to limit the number of 403(b) annuity vendors that a university has to work with and accept.

Specifically, the language states that a university has to a select a minimum of four (4) vendors, and its in the institution’s sole discretion to decide which vendors those are. The language is permissive, so universities may choose not to change anything about their annuity provider options.

However, some institutions obviously were pushing for this change so that they would only have to deal with four vendors.
The OCAAUP Board of Trustees took a position of opposition against this language because of the impact it could have on some of our members.

For instance, if a university chooses to limit itself to working with the requisite four vendors, it would force employees to start putting all future contributions into one of the approved vendor plans, if they’re not already with one of those vendors.  If an employee would want to move their money from their old account, they would be responsible for any negative financial impact this would have, like paying exit fees charged by their former vendor.

Despite our efforts as an association, as well as working with a coalition that included smaller 403(b) vendors, this language was included in the final bill.

Make a “Free” Contribution to Your Favorite State Candidate

Did you know that in Ohio you can receive a dollar for dollar tax credit up to $100 for a contribution made to a state candidate?
Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 5747.29, a taxpayer filing as an individual can claim a tax credit of up to $50 for contributions made to state candidates, while taxpayers filing jointly can claim a credit up to $100.
It’s like giving away free money!
A state candidate is any candidate who is running for a statewide office (e.g. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Auditor), as well as anyone running for the Ohio General Assembly.

Over the past four years, we have seen an unprecedented attack on collective bargaining rights and voting rights, more reductions in higher education spending, and specific attacks on faculty working conditions. We cannot afford to sit out this election.

So in addition to making sure you’re registered to vote at your current address, please consider making contributions to candidates you support and know will support you in your profession and everyday life.

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