State Rep. Reineke Supports 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 Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) today voted in favor 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, provides local governments funding to train police officers and encourages growth for small businesses.


In an effort to drive business to Ohio and continue the significant economic 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.


“The state operating budget is the most significant piece of legislation the General Assembly will pass,” Rep. Reineke said. “Through this long process, we made significant reforms that will continue Ohio’s successful recovery and growth over the next two years. I am most pleased with the support we were able to provide to our small businesses. We created a better tax structure for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and hire more employees because it’s all about bringing jobs to our communities. We made substantial compromises to address numerous other issues across the spheres of education, healthcare, and welfare reform. Overall, I believe Ohio is in a better position to flourish with this balanced budget in place.”


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 increases funding for the Ohio College Opportunity Grant, which provides access to higher education for low-income Ohioans.


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:



  • Extending “safe harbor” provisions from testing penalties 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

  • Placing  a tax on cigarettes at 35 cents a pack—ensuring that Ohio’s  tobacco tax amount is on par with neighboring states; no other tax rates increase in this budget

  • 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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Ohio House Passes Legislation Encouraging Workforce Development In The Automotive Field

 
COLUMBUS - 

State Representatives Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) and Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) today applauded the Ohio House’s passage of legislation they jointly sponsored that would allow automotive technicians and motor vehicle technicians at retail stores the ability to join the Incumbent Workforce Voucher Program.