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

State Representative Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) 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 beginning in TY’ 15. The proposal also lowers the top rate to below 5 percent—the lowest it’s been since 1982. Furthering that trend, and prioritizing small businesses, the bill institutes a 75-percent income tax deduction on the first $250,000 of income in FY’ 2016 and a 100-percent deduction in FY’ 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.


Rep. Hagan worked to secure many specific budget provisions, including $250,000 in FY 2016 to ArtsinStark to support the SmArts Program and the Genius Project, placing nursing facilities in Allen and Trumbull counties in the peer groups used to determine the Medicaid payment rates for nursing facilities in Mahoning County or Stark County, helping to create a tourism development district in Stark County, and holding schools harmless on state share of instruction.


"I am glad to have supported a budget that continues to lower taxes for all Ohioans,” said Hagan. “It is also pleasing to move in a direction of reducing costs associated with earning a college degree, making our higher education institutions work harder for the people we serve."


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 works to help individuals move 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. With a focus on curtailing the drug epidemic, the bill also 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 Facilities 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 DAS and ODOT to establish a veteran-friendly business procurement program.


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 to teachers and students through FY’17

  • Appropriating      funds for the Healthier Buckeye Grant Pilot Program

  • Placing       a tax on cigarettes at 35 cents a pack—ensuring that Ohio’s  tobacco      tax amount is on par with neighboring states

  • 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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