The budget process took another step this past Wednesday when the Ohio House passed Amended Substitute House Bill 64, which was our version of the state operating budget. The process began back in February when the governor introduced his budget proposal, which then began in the House for consideration. While the basic framework is still in place, the House has made some major changes to the original proposal to improve upon the bill.

Am. Sub. H.B. 64 provides over $1.2 billion in tax relief to Ohioans over the next two years. On an individual basis, there is an across-the-board income tax reduction of 6.3 percent for Ohioans. This lowers the top marginal tax rate to under 5 percent – the lowest it’s been since 1982. Our constituents deserve this kind of fiscal responsibility from their elected officials.

The House has also removed the tax hikes that were in the original proposal. The Commercial Activity Tax, sales tax, cigarette taxes and severance taxes will not see any increases. What all this means is that the people of Columbiana County and across Ohio are going to be seeing more money in their wallets.

Small businesses, one of the pillars of our economy, are also taken care of in this budget with the 75 percent tax deduction made permanent in this bill. If we can encourage the growth of small businesses in Ohio, we can help entrepreneurs to create new jobs. This is something that needs to continue to improve in Ohio. Staying on the right track is crucial to the success of our state, now and in the future.

One of the areas I am particularly pleased with is the decision to change the school funding formula and hold harmless those schools in our district impacted by the phase out of TPP. I was fortunate to be able to work with Superintendent Robert Mehno of Leetonia Schools and Rep. Bob Cupp to see adjustments made that positively affected all of our schools in Columbiana County. Superintendent Mehno gave impressive testimony before the Finance subcommittee responsible for K-12 funding, having a major impact on the decision-making process.

It is now the Ohio Senate’s turn to evaluate the budget. When they pass the bill, both chambers will work together to submit a final version to the governor.  As we continue on in this process, I hope you will consider contacting my office with any questions, concerns or comments about the state budget, or any other state government related issue

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Representative Ginter Sworn In As State Representative Of The 5th House District

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State Representative Tim Ginter (R-Salem) was sworn in yesterday as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives for the 132nd General Assembly. He represents the 5th Ohio House District, which comprises all of Columbiana County, for a second term.