State Rep. Thompson Applauds Passage Of Conference Report On State Operating Budget
Am. Sub. H.B. 64 provides tax relief, ensures funding for local schools
June 26, 2015
 
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COLUMBUS - 

State Representative Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) today voted in support of Amended Substitute House Bill 64, the state operating budget. The legislation lowers the income tax, ensures funding for Ohio schools, freezes tuition costs on colleges and helps small businesses.


In an effort to drive business to Ohio and continue the significant economical success the state has experienced over the last few years, the final budget proposal cuts taxes by a total of more than $1.8 billion over the next two years and includes an across-the-board 6.3 percent income tax decrease. The proposal also lowers the top rate to just under 5 percent—the lowest it has been since 1982. Furthering that trend, and prioritizing small businesses, the bill institutes a 75 percent tax deduction on the first $250,000 of income in 2016 and a 100-percent deduction in 2017, and levies a flat 3 percent rate above that.


Through the passage of this legislation, no Ohio school will receive a reduction in state funding from 2015 for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. The budget appropriates an additional $900 million in state aid to Ohio’s schools. Additionally, the bill allocates funding to make up for dollars lost because of the TPP and KWH reimbursement phase outs.



“While each budget presents significant challenges, I believe we have produced a budget that lays the groundwork for economic growth,” Thompson said. “The defeat of the proposed severance tax hike is especially important to the royalty owners in my district; we have also allowed individual taxpayers and small businesses to keep more of their money to invest however they see fit, and that should impact job creation in Ohio positively.”


In addition to addressing taxes and primary/secondary education, Am. Sub. House Bill 64 makes higher education more affordable for students by freezing tuition rates for public colleges and universities over the next two years. It also prohibits state institutions of higher education from charging an overload fee for taking more than a certain number of credit hours.


Am. Sub. H.B. 64 also works to help individuals who need medical care to overcome their personal challenges and lift them up and off government assistance in order to have a better quality of life.  By implementing cost transparency measures in Medicaid and requiring the Department of Medicaid to seek waivers to allow for health savings accounts, Ohio is on the forefront of comprehensive Medicaid reform.  With a focus on curtailing the drug epidemic, the bill earmarks $500,000 to improve access for county health departments and first responders to Naloxone, an anti-opiate drug that reverses the effects of an overdose.


The legislation creates the Ohio Military Commission, which would be tasked with providing state funding to military installations in Ohio, for $5 million over the biennium, to ensure that they are prepared for the upcoming BRAC. Additionally, the bill requires the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to establish a veteran-friendly business procurement program. Finally, $750,000 per year will be earmarked for the Ohio Legal Aid Fund to ensure representation for disadvantaged veterans.


In order to ensure that Ohio’s local governments have the resources they need for the communities they serve, this budget makes various allocations for this purpose. For example, the bill establishes the Local Government Safety Capital Grant Program with a $20 million allocation over the next two years. The bill also increases the percent of GRF tax revenues transferred to the Public Library Fund for local libraries.


Additional provisions in the budget include:



  • Providing      $25 million in funding for the Buckeye Lake Dam Rehabilitation Fund, which      over the biennium will total $29 million

  • Extending      “safe harbor” provisions to teachers and students through FY’17

  • Ensuring      funding for Ohio’s ABLE Act (House Bill 155), which allows the family      members or guardians of Ohioans with disabilities to create their own      tax-advantaged savings accounts

  • Appropriating      funding for the Healthier Buckeye Grant Program

  • Appropriating      funds to the Resurrecting Lives Foundation for traumatic brain injury      programs

  • Providing      $11 million over the biennium to expand the creation of Medication      Assisted Treatment (MAT) drug court program.

  • Earmarking      $13.4 million per year for a Medicaid managed care organization to cover      community health worker services for enrollees who are pregnant, or      capable of becoming pregnant, who live in a community identified by the      Ohio Department of Health as having a high rate of infant mortality


Am. Sub. H.B. 64 will now head to the Governor for his signature. 

 
 
 
  
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