State Rep. D.J. Swearingen (R-Huron) and the General Assembly passed House Bill 110, known as the two-year state operating budget for Fiscal Years 2022-2023. The legislation highlights include a new school funding reform plan, tax relief, jobs and economic support, and several other initiatives.
“As a member of the House Finance Committee, we worked diligently to ensure this was a structurally balanced budget that benefits all Ohioans,” said Swearingen. “We included historic school funding formula reform, across-the-board tax cuts, and took steps to invest in jobs and economic development. Our Legislature has provided a comprehensive and rewarding budget for our state that will positively impact our citizens over the next two fiscal years.”
The school funding reform plan included in the bill is the result of more than three years of work by educators and policymakers. The Fair School Funding Plan is predictable, sustainable and transparent.
The bill includes a three percent across the board personal income tax cut. The tax reform plan reduces the number of tax brackets from five to four, and eliminates the income tax for anyone making less than $25,000 per year. Overall, these and other tax changes in the budget reduce taxes $2 billion over the biennium.
Additionally, the budget bill includes targeted investments to support Ohio jobs, businesses and the economy. This portion of the bill focuses on expanding procurement law to give preference to American and Ohio products. The legislation also focuses on workforce development through a committee to study workforce training and several programs to support employment opportunities.
House Bill 110 also includes a series of provisions in support of law enforcement, firefighters and veterans. Some of the initiatives include funding for training and equipment, support for veterans organizations, and funding for the Ohio Cyber Reserve.
The new budget also entails House Bill 2, which creates the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program and the Ohio Broadband Expansion Program Authority. This initiative includes more than $250 million to support the grants.
Swearingen also submitted several amendments within the budget bill that includes:
- Cutting income taxes.
- Requires state agencies to give preference to U.S. and Ohio products through the "competitive sealed bid process" when purchasing personal protective equipment.
- School Funding Protection
- Establishes mental health board reform by restoring more local control and provides boards’ greater efficiency and flexibility in offering their services.
Swearingen also noted that the budget includes substantial funding in support for soil and water districts related to Lake Erie and other funds to agencies to help protect the Great Lake – this included $170 million for the H2Ohio initiative.
The budget plan, under House Bill 110, now heads to the governor for further action.