Ohio state Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) announced the passage of the finalized version of the State Operating Budget, House Bill (HB) 166. Wednesday’s vote came after more than two weeks of delays to allow for further negotiations.

“While I worked to represent the House Democratic Caucus throughout the budget process, I voted for it today as the representative of the 96th Ohio House District in Eastern Ohio,” Cera said. “This bill includes major investments for our part of the state.”

HB 166 includes provisions to greatly support children, working families, and economic development:

  • $25 million will be used to restore the Rural Industrial Park Loan Program, for economic development projects in rural Ohio.

  • The Department of Natural Resources will create a new program to study the impact of water withdrawals on streams in eastern Ohio.

  • The formula for local government funds will be changed to prioritize smaller cities, villages, and townships.

  • $11 million will be made available to cover the local government share of FEMA emergency costs from recent disaster declarations across eastern and southeastern Ohio.

  • Counties will now be able receive up to a 100% reimbursement of indigent defense costs.

  • The H2Ohio Fund will support water quality projects on the Ohio River and Lake Erie.

  • Ohio schools will receive significant funding for wraparound services.

  • Low-income College and University students will benefit from increased funding for the Ohio College Opportunity Grants.

  • The lowest two state income tax brackets will be eliminated, and the remaining brackets will receive a 4% cut. 

  • The Kinship Care Navigator program will be greatly expanded and will receive increased funding over the next two years.

  • The state will be making a significant increase in funding to combat the opioid crisis. 

The State Operating Budget passed the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives with wide bipartisan support. Governor DeWine signed the bill into law Thursday morning.

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