House Democrats today expressed optimism that the latest state budget draft is moving in the right direction, after updates included key Democratic tax priorities that they say make the bill a “more realistic blueprint” for the state’s fiscal future.

“I am proud of our Democratic members and their work to make this a better budget by including our key tax priorities,” said Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron). “Walking back a tax system rigged against working people will help our state better live within our means and let working families have a better chance to get ahead. This draft is a more realistic blueprint for our state’s future.”

Key tax fairness provisions included in the budget by Democrats include lowering the LLC loophole threshold to $100,000 from $250,000 and leveling the playing field for Ohio small businesses by administering online-sales tax collection for large corporations.

The latest budget also eliminates the bottom two income tax brackets and reduces the middle two brackets, saving working people and families more money following a decade of tax shifting that had cost them more to fund giveaways for the wealthiest one-percent. Long-held Democratic priorities of closing tax loopholes, like the corporate jet timeshare exemption, also made it into the budget.

“Our changes bring the budget more into balance and put us in a better position to meet some of the governor’s spending increases,” said Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), the lead Democrat on the House Budget panel. “Though we’re making progress, there is still a lot of work to make sure this is a balanced plan for more growth and more opportunity in our state.”

Cera and Sykes said Democratic lawmakers will continue to review the changes in advance of next week, when additional changes are expected before a committee vote.

Additional Democratic amendments in the updated version of the state budget, House Bill 166 include:

-         H2Ohio Advisory Council.

-         Double funding for Rape Crisis Centers.

-         Increase textbook assistance for students.

-         Create Ohio FAFSA incentive.

-         Increase minimum wage of direct service providers.

-         Fully fund Adult Protective Services.

-         Add Commission on Minority Health to Pregnancy resk assessment work group and home visiting consortium.

-         Protect workers through increase in BWC wage and hour division.

-         Incentivize online trades education at Eastern Gateway Community College.

-         Increases to kinship care, multi-system youth and foster recruitment.

-         Increase funding for local emergency communication (MARCS).

An anticipated budget vote is expected in the House next week, sending the bill to the Ohio Senate for review before the June 30 deadline.

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