Cites higher taxes and lack of funding for public schools and local governments as reasons why
June 28, 2013
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State Representative Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) voted no on the State Budget during yesterday’s session in the Ohio House of Representatives.

 According to Rep. Cera, the provisions in the two-year state budget raises the state sales tax, increases property taxes and raises spending without helping public schools and local governments, “The $61.7 billion budget is the largest in state history and directs more funding away from public schools and leaves our local governments still struggling to fund basic services.”

 The biennial budget, a 5,300 page document being dissected by the 130th General Assembly, should be the vehicle for finalizing the financial aspect of running programs and agencies across the state. Instead, bills on other issues were dumped into the budget bill at the last hour.  Such proposals, according to Rep. Cera, had no business in the state budget bill and should have remained separate issues.  “These issues needed to be vetted properly through the committee process….not dumped into a budget bill,” said Rep. Cera.

 A new tax package was also inserted at the last few days of deliberation. It includes a sales tax hike which disproportionately affects working families and puts our local businesses at a disadvantage with surrounding states. The tax plan also limits property tax relief for senior citizens and eliminates property tax savings for all property owners on any new local levy that is passed.  Several other changes in tax policy occurred at the end of the budget process. “There was only one week to review the effect of these tax changes on seniors, homeowners, farmers and small businesses … this is not the way to create tax policy”, Cera stated.

 Representative Cera added that throughout the lengthy debate on the House floor, everyone in the majority party who stood up to speak on the bill prefaced his or her comments with the words, ‘this bill isn’t great…’   “Perhaps a more bi-partisan approach to the whole process would have been a step closer to making it great,”   said Cera.  Seven House Republicans broke ranks with the majority party to join Democrats in opposing the bill due to its tax policies and increases in spending, giving it a final vote of 53-44.

 The measure appropriates about $30.3 billion in general revenue for FY 2014 and $31.7 billion in FY 2015, according to the Legislative Service Commission. The current budget (HB153, 129th General Assembly) allocated $27.7 billion for FY 2013.  


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