COLUMBUS – State Representative Haraz N. Ghanbari (R-Perrysburg) voted Wednesday in support of the new two-year state budget that includes major health care reforms as well as tax relief for Ohio families. The measure passed with 75 affirmative votes and 17 negative votes, with Governor Mike DeWine signing the budget Thursday morning.
The measure, House Bill 166, also includes record funding for schools, as well as historic investments in foster care, higher education and initiatives for seniors.
“I am thankful for the dialogue with constituents in Wood County in order to advocate with my House colleagues to pass a strong, bipartisan budget that will make an impactful difference in our communities,” said Rep. Ghanbari. “This budget lowers taxes while putting more money into the hands of our hardworking families, and makes strong investments in programs to strengthen our families and communities.”
The tax package included in House Bill 166 calls for a personal income tax rate reduction of 4 percent across the board. It also eliminates the personal income tax for those earning less than $21,750.
Funding for Ohio’s schools increased by $381.8 million for the 2019-20 school year, a 4.1 percent increase. There is a 2 percent increase slated for the 2020-21 school year, and provides $20 million for districts to purchase school buses.
Other highlights of the plan include increased support for Ohio’s colleges and universities, including more funding for the state’s main needs-based financial aid for higher education students, the Ohio College Opportunity Grant. The budget reinstates the Rural University program, which is a collaboration of Bowling Green, Kent State, Miami University and Ohio University that provides rural communities with economic development, public administration and public health services. Each university will receive $125,000 in each of the next two years.
The bill also commits $1.5 million for the state’s higher education chancellor to continue developing model best practices for preventing and responding to sexual violence on campus, including protecting students and staff who are victims of sexual violence on campus.
The bill provides an additional $10 million over the biennium for the Local Government Fund, and an additional $10 million over the biennium for the Public Library Fund. The final version of the budget makes the new, increased rate effective on July 1, 2019.