Rep. Schaffer Secures Support For Local Programs In State Budget
Priority Projects Headlined by Buckeye Lake Funding for Businesses, Homeowners
May 02, 2017
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COLUMBUS—State Representative Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) today voted in support of the state biennial budget, House Bill 49, which contains a number of important policies for the 77th District in Fairfield County.

The most important provision provides funds for areas affected by the construction on the Buckeye Lake dam to aid business recovery and protect homeowners. The budget restores funding through the Lakes in Economic Distress program to assist businesses who were hit hardest during construction. In addition to the funding, Representative Schaffer included an amendment to cut the red tape in the program by reducing the eligibility ratio from 40 percent to 10 percent.

Representative Schaffer also secured an amendment to earmark funding to help homeowners comply with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources recent order regarding storm water drainage. This funding will help offset costs associated with drainage infrastructure and any engineering studies to reroute storm water away from the lake, a project likely to cost millions of dollars.

Rep. Schaffer also worked with colleagues to limit further Medicaid expansion. As a result, the budget increases legislative oversight of the administration’s Medicaid spending through the Controlling Board. The House also added new work and drug treatment requirements for recipients and requires the administration to show progress obtaining waivers from the federal government that will permit Ohio to trim back expansion.

As the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Representative Schaffer worked with House leadership to eliminate the harmful shifts in tax policy proposed in the executive budget proposal. After seven hearings, the Ways and Means Committee heard hours of testimony on the negative impacts of increasing the rate and expanding the sales tax base on certain professions. The House version has no shifting of taxes onto the business community and also eliminates proposed increases to the tobacco tax, commercial activities tax, and taxes on cable television services.

Another vitally important budget item with local impact is the new funding promoted through the HOPES (Heroin, Opioids, Prevention, Education and Safety) Agenda. This is a $170 million investment in a comprehensive effort to combat the drug epidemic running rampant in Ohio’s communities. The effort seeks to combine treatment, mental health services, workforce training, and drug prevention education at the community level, helping lift people out of the cycle of addiction.

Additionally, Rep. Schaffer sponsored an amendment to bring a new economic development tool to townships in Ohio, called the New Community Authority. Already available to counties and large cities, townships will now be able to provide additional incentives to bring jobs and businesses into their areas with this authority. This amendment was backed by Violet Township in Fairfield County.

“The state budget is an important investment for our communities,” said Schaffer. “I believe Ohio and Fairfield County will benefit significantly from the new reforms the Ohio House of Representatives passed today in House Bill 49. We are working to keep government small and accountable to the people, address the most pressing needs in our communities, and cut red tape for businesses so entrepreneurs can create jobs. We were able to do all this and keep spending restrained, staying under the inflation rate and spending less than proposed by the Governor’s budget.”

House Bill 49 now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration. After the Senate passes its version, changes will be reconciled in a conference committee. The final version will be approved before the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

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