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

State Representative Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario) voted in support of Amended Substitute House Bill 64, the state operating budget. This legislation lowers the income tax, ensures funding for Ohio schools, freezes tuition costs on colleges and helps small businesses.

In an effort to support business growth in Ohio and continue the economic success that the state has experienced over the last few years, the final budget proposal cuts taxes by more than $1.8 billion over the next two years and includes an across-the-board 6.3 percent income tax decrease for all taxpayers.  Furthering that trend and prioritizing small businesses, the bill continues the small business tax reduction which started in the last budget.

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.

“This budget is a continuation of the policies passed in the last budget which will continue to spur economic activity with the overall goal of increasing employment,” said Romanchuk.

Rep. Romanchuk worked to include a provision that allows all colleges participating in the College Credit Plus program to offer an associate’s degree tuition free up to 72 hours of instruction.  Through College Credit Plus, high school students can take higher education courses from universities and community colleges.  Programs such as College-NOW offered at North Central State College will benefit from this provision.

He also worked to include a new pilot program called the “Ohio Career Counseling Pilot Program,” which will deliver comprehensive career counseling services to students in grades seven through twelve.  The pilot includes seven Career-Technical Planning Districts including Pioneer Career and Technology Center and Madison Local School District.

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 also works to help individuals who need medical care to overcome their personal challenges and lift them up and off government assistance.  By implementing cost transparency measures for 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. 

The legislation creates the Ohio Military Commission which would be tasked with providing state funding to military installations in Ohio, such as the 179th Air National Guard at Lahm airport, to ensure that they are prepared for the upcoming BRAC.  Additionally, the bill requires the state 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.

Am. Sub. H.B. 64 will now head to the Governor for his signature.

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