Ohio House Finance Committee Introduces Budget Sub. Bill
Building upon the Governor's proposal, Sub. H.B. 64 cuts taxes, ensures state funding for schools and makes appropriations to various state programs
April 14, 2015
 
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The Ohio House Finance Committee today introduced Substitute House Bill 64, legislation which outlines the two-year budget proposal for Ohio by making appropriations and providing policy initiatives in various areas such as education, taxes and healthcare.


As first proposed by Governor John Kasich, the budget legislation builds from the administration’s initial language by cutting taxes, encouraging job and business growth, providing transparency and greater efficiency in government and also prioritizing Ohio’s students by making certain that no school district sees a reduction in state funding for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.


“I want to first thank the Governor for introducing a proposal that implements positive changes in the areas that matter most to Ohioans,” said Speaker Rosenberger. “The testimony we have heard during the committee process has helped us to build on the Governor’s proposal as we continue working together to ensure a bright future for all Ohioans. I also want to commend Chairman Smith for his leadership in encouraging robust discussion and debate, as well as ensuring that all voices were heard.”


“Our primary goal in the legislature is to develop solutions that meet the needs of both Ohio’s citizens and the business community,” said Chairman Smith. “Substitute House Bill 64 balances government spending and maximizes the quality of the services our state provides to individuals and businesses alike.” 


Tax Reform: Taking additional steps to improve economic stability by cutting taxes


House Bill 64 makes progress in the area of tax reform by encouraging job growth, stimulating the economy and ensuring that Ohioans are able to provide for their families. The bill provides a 6.3 percent income tax cut beginning in tax year 2015 and lowers the top rate to 5 percent. This amounts to a total of $1.2 billion in tax relief for Ohioans over the next two years. On the issue of tax reform, the bill also:



  • Makes permanent the 75 percent tax deduction for small business owners on their first $250,000 of income

  • Creates the Ohio 2020 Tax Policy Study Commission to discuss, research and make recommendations for further, more comprehensive tax reform in the state


Primary and Secondary Education: Ensuring that every Ohio student is on the pathway to achievement


In the area of education, House Bill 64 maintains the footprint of the executive K-12 funding proposal and continues Ohio’s efforts to provide a quality education for all of Ohio’s students by taking into account the school’s income, location and district growth. House Bill 64 contains measures such as:



  • Allocating an additional $179 million above the executive proposal into the foundation formula

  • Extending to two years safe harbor provisions

  • Appropriating $500,000 per year for the SPARK (Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids) program

  • Creating the Ohio Career Counseling Pilot Program to connect high school students with business and community leaders so that they can explore career options


Higher Education: Incentivizing Ohio colleges and universities to help students have the ability to  afford a quality education


The state is continuing its commitment to nurturing an environment that encourages excellent education in colleges and universities across the state by:



  • Prohibiting a state institution of higher education from charging an overload fee for taking more than a certain number of credit hours in most circumstances

  • Reducing the Student Debt Loan Repayment Program to $15 million per year and redirecting the balance to support the Workforce Grant Program, which is included in House Bill 1

  • Increasing funding for the Ohio College Opportunity Grant by $5 million per year

  • Allowing students at private universities to participate in the Student Debt Reduction Program


Healthcare: Providing the best health options for Ohioans and assisting those with challenges by helping to lift them out of poverty


By making reforms in the area of Medicaid, Ohio continues to strive to provide transparency and assistance on the issue of healthcare in the state, specifically through efforts to curtail the opioid drug epidemic. House Bill 64:



  • Requires the Department of Medicaid to seek waivers to allow for health savings accounts and work requirements

  • Mandates a report of the clinical care and outcomes of the Medicaid expansion population

  • Expands the drug addiction treatment program to an additional 15 counties and provides an additional $4.5 million per year in funding to support the program

  • Maintains TANF funding of the Ohio Pregnancy and Parenting support program

  • Earmarks $500,000 to improve county access to naloxone, an anti-opiate drug that reverses the effects of a drug overdose

  • Expands and strengthens the Ohio Healthier Buckeye Program by creating the Healthier Buckeye Council for all counties

  • Supports Rape Crisis Centers, by providing an additional $500,000 per year in funding

  • Appropriates $5 million to expand the use of specialized drug courts


Agriculture and Natural Resources: Maximizing the state’s efforts to protect our valuable natural resources


Through various pieces of the legislation, the state has strengthened the state’s ability to combat the threat of harmful algal blooms. The budget bill takes these efforts a step further by providing funding in various agricultural areas throughout Ohio, not just in the Lake Erie region. The bill:



  • Increases funding to the Healthy Lake Erie program by $500,000

  • Provides a $10 million capital appropriation to begin work on the rehabilitation of the Buckeye Lake dam

  • Provides $500,000 to promote tourism in the Buckeye Lake region

  • Creates a grant program with the Department of Agriculture for county fairs to apply for capital money


Community Reforms: Helping veterans as well as the elderly, poor and developmentally disabled



  • Provides an additional $2.75 million to fund Ohio food banks.

  • Creates the Health Food Financing Initiative to support access to healthy food in underserved areas and appropriates $1.5 million in FY’16 and $2 million in FY’17

  • Increases funding for the Appalachian New Economy Partnership to $1.5 million per year

  • Earmarks $750,000 per year for the Ohio Legal Aid Fund to provide representation to economically disadvantaged veterans

  • Requires the Emergency Medical, Fire and Transportation Board to create an expedited certification program for veterans who received training as a paramedic

  • Provides $70,000 per year for the Ohio WWI centennial working group

  • Removes a provision that a veteran or dependent must enroll within three years of discharge to receive instate tuition

 
 
 
  
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