Conference Report On State Operating Budget Passes Ohio House
Am. Sub. H.B. 64 sent to Governor for his signature
June 26, 2015
 
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COLUMBUS - 

The Ohio House of Representatives today approved the conference committee report for Amended Substitute House Bill 64, which is the state operating budget. The legislation lowers the income tax, ensures adequate funding for Ohio schools, freezes tuition costs on colleges and helps small businesses. It is now being sent to the Governor for his signature.


“I believe the budget proposal we have passed today is an example of an important collaborative effort between the House, the Senate and the Governor, and it will work to benefit the overall quality of life for the people of Ohio,” Speaker Rosenberger said. “Our goal of cutting taxes for hardworking Ohioans, ensuring funding for schools and supporting important initiatives that help various projects in the state has been achieved. I’m thankful to all my colleagues, including Chairman Smith, the House Finance Committee, Senate President Keith Faber and Governor John Kasich for their thoughtful input and thorough discussion throughout the budget process.”


“An effort that works to benefit every Ohioan, this budget makes a difference in areas that matter most to everyday citizens,” Rep. Smith said. “I’m pleased with the outcome of this budget process, as I believe it promotes business in the state and ensures funding for our schools, which is vital to our success.”


Initiating Tax Reform and Providing Support for Ohio’s Vital Small Business Sector


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 yearsand includes an across-the-board 6.3 percent incometax 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.


Am. Sub. House Bill 64 also creates the 2020 Tax Policy Study Committee, which will study various tax initiatives with the goal of researching and discussing forward-looking, comprehensive tax reform without the time constraints of a budget.


Providing Quality Education to Every Student


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.


Making Higher Education More Affordable


Am. Sub. H.B. 64 gives students more opportunities to obtain a degree faster and cheaper. The bill freezes tuition rates for state institutions 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. State colleges and universities will also be required to develop and implement a plan to reduce the cost of earning a degree by 5 percent. Additionally, colleges participating in College Credit Plus will be required to offer an associate degree pathway.


Crafting Initiatives that Help Those Who Need Medical Assistance


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.


Supporting Those Who Have Served Honorably


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.


Helping Local Governments


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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