Every two years, the State of Ohio is constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget to fund government projects and programs, as well as our schools. Constructing a budget plan is one of the biggest responsibilities for a General Assembly. I am pleased to report that the House of Representatives recently did its part in setting the tone and direction for Ohio’s future with our version of the budget, House Bill 64.

As a member of the Finance and Appropriations Committee, I had the privilege of contributing to the process of constructing this budget, including the opportunity to hear testimony from the public on the budget. Of particular importance to me were the small businesses and employers who are on the ground creating the jobs that employ our friends and neighbors. From manufacturers and entrepreneurs to the service industry and retailers, we heard one thing loud and clear—give us the space we need to create jobs and grow the economy.

To that end, we worked hard to come up with a tax package with a balanced strategy and a long-term approach. I support a tax system based on four principles: simplicity, stability, transparency and pro-growth policy. The tax reforms adopted by the House of Representatives accomplishes these four objectives.

In the interest of simplicity, we pursued targeted, realistic measures without increasing anyone’s taxes. We also passed an income tax cut to all Ohioans, totaling in $1.2 billion that will find itself in our citizens’ pockets rather than government coffers.

For stability, we made permanent the exemption on the first 75 percent of income for small business owners. This program has had a tremendous impact on giving businesses the resources they need to invest into things like capital, which will ultimately result in opportunities for growth and job-creation.

In terms of transparency, the House of Representatives has proposed a new 2020 Tax Study Committee. Our vision is to bring the business community, civic leaders and other interested parties together around a table, giving each participant buy-in to the decisions that will affect them for many years to come. We can discuss the merits of tax cuts, base broadening, and closing loopholes without the intense pressure and short timeline of the state budgeting process.

Finally, our approach to pro-growth policy continues to target investments that foster economic prosperity for Ohioans. Pursuing sweeping changes will only hinder the economy by hiking taxes on business and service-specific industries. Instead, we prefer a long-term approach so we can reduce each citizen’s overall tax burden over time. With the successes we have seen in Ohio’s recovery, now is not the time to change our course. We will remain focused on our goals to maximize our potential, our competitiveness relative to other states, and our ability to position Ohio for present and future success.

Even though the budget process can be difficult and complex, I strongly believe in the work the House of Representatives has done in crafting a plan that will make our state better. We have passed a budget that is comprehensive, covering more than just tax reform. We also included significant K-12 and higher education policy changes, healthcare updates and much-needed revisions to our welfare system. I am committed to giving our state the best chance to excel, and I am proud that the House of Representatives is leading the way.

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