Rep. Smith Applauds Bipartisan Passage Of Biennial Budget
Am. Sub. H.B. 64 cuts taxes, helps small businesses and provides a balanced approach to funding Ohio's schools
April 22, 2015
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State Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) today applauded the House passage of Amended Substitute House Bill 64. Smith chaired the House Finance Committee that heard Am. Sub. House Bill 64, the biennial state budget bill that allocates funding to schools, community projects and government initiatives, as well as providing significant tax relief to all Ohioans and small businesses in the state.

As part of Am. Sub. House Bill 64, Ohioans will see a sizable tax cut totaling $1.2 billion over the biennium with a 6.3 percent across-the-board income tax reduction beginning this year, lowering the top rate to just under 5 percent-the lowest it’s been since 1982. The bill prioritizes small businesses by permanently instituting a 75-percent tax deduction for the first $250,000 in income, ensuring that businesses can grow and create jobs. A commission has also been created in the legislation to discuss further tax reform for the benefit of Ohioans and Ohio businesses.

The House’s budget plan has received support from various business groups and interested parties for its business-friendly tax initiatives. Some of these groups include the Buckeye Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, the Council of Smaller Enterprises, the Ohio Farm Bureau, the Ohio Society of CPAs, the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, the National Federation of Independent Business/Ohio (NFIB), the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

On the issue of school funding, Am. Sub. House Bill 64 appropriates $950 million in state-aid—increasing the executive proposal by $270 million. The school funding component of the bill ensures that no school will see a decrease in state funding over the next two years.  Additionally, the passed legislation allocates funding to make up for dollars lost because of the TPP and KWH reimbursement phase-out.

Pertaining to higher education, the budget bill prohibits colleges and universities from charging an overload fee to students for taking more than a certain number of credit hours. Provisions in the bill also require colleges participating in the College Credit Plus Program to offer an associate degree pathway and fund the Workforce Grant Program.

In respect to 93rd Ohio House District residents, the state budget focuses on access to the internet and dental care by allocating $950,000 per year for improved access to broadband and dental access in Appalachian counties. Additionally, Am. Sub. House Bill 64 provides an increase in funding for the Appalachian New Economy Partnership, bringing the total to $1.5 million. The partnership’s mission is to attract and grow business in the region. Ohio University’s Leadership Project (OULP) received $75,000 in funding per year in the bill. The OULP adds significant support to boost area schools through professional development. $5 million a year have also been appropriated to expand the creation of drug courts, including courts in Jackson, Gallia and Lawrence counties.

With a focused approach on guaranteeing that Ohioans are able to get the health care they need, the budget proposal develops a plan to assist individuals who need help getting off government aid by implementing cost transparency measures, requiring the Department of Medicaid to seek waivers to allow for savings accounts and work requirements, and requiring a report of clinical care and outcomes of the Medicaid expansion population to be examined by the General Assembly.

“It is an honor to serve as the House Finance Chairman, and I have enjoyed working with my colleagues to build on the governor’s budget proposal. Amended Substitute Bill 64 encourages continued economic growth by implementing $1.2 billion in tax cuts  over the two-year budget cycle, and implements as 6.3 percent income tax reduction,” said Smith. “Through this bill, the 93rd House District will see better access to broadband, increased Medicaid dental reimbursements, newly created drug courts, and funding for programs like the Appalachian New Economy Partnership and Ohio University’s Leadership Project to assist with economic growth and professional development.”

Other provisions in the bill include:

  • Creating      the Ohio Military Facilities Commission, which would provide state funding      to military installations in Ohio to ensure that they are prepared for the      upcoming BRAC

  • Supporting rape crisis centers      with an additional $500,000 per year

  • Providing an additional $2.75      million per year to Ohio food banks

  • Creating      the Health Food Financing Initiative to support access to healthy food in      underserved areas

  • Maintaining      TANF funding for the Ohio Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program

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

  • Providing      $1.25 million to the Secretary of State to mail absentee ballot      applications to Ohio voters

  • Making      a $10 million capital appropriation to begin work on the rehabilitation of      the Buckeye Lake dam and requiring all contracts including incentives for      early completion

  • Establishing      the Defense/Aerospace Workforce Development Initiative and appropriating      $10 million per year to strengthen Ohio’s aviation industry

  • Forming      the Local Government Safety Capital Grant Program to provide up to      $100,000 to help local governments pay for public safety-related capital      costs

  • Extending      safe harbor provisions to teachers and students through FY’17

  • Appropriating      funds to the Resurrecting Lives Foundation for traumatic brain injury      programs

Am. Sub. House Bill 64 will now head to the Senate for further consideration.


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