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Commentary: Ohio crafted responsible state budget

Published By Canton Repository on July 4, 2021
Scott Oelslager In The News

At its heart, a good state budget is about people.

It’s about funding the priorities we all share and investing in what works.

It’s about being fiscally responsible, protecting tax dollars and helping Ohioans keep more of what they earn.

All of this and more is what we’ve accomplished with Ohio’s new state budget, which took effect July 1.

It will improve education, help Ohio keep and create jobs, and provide quality care for seniors and our most vulnerable citizens. It supports those who serve all of us: Our veterans, law enforcement and first responders.

The new budget also includes important reform and revitalization initiatives to make Ohio more competitive, encourage investment in our state and expand economic opportunity.

It’s no surprise our new state budget, House Bill 110, was overwhelmingly supported by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Ohio’s new budget includes the Fair School Funding Plan, which is the result of more than three years of collaboration between educators and policymakers. Thanks to their work, Ohio now has a funding formula that is rational, predictable and sustainable.

The budget includes meaningful tax relief, beginning with a 3% across the board personal income tax cut. We are also reducing the number of brackets from five to four, and eliminating the income tax for anyone making less than $25,000 per year.

A top priority for the Legislature is continuing to strengthen our economy in this post-pandemic era and being more competitive to bring new jobs and opportunity in Ohio. Our new state budget hits the mark on both counts.

We are not only investing in workforce training and providing $155 million to help industries recover from the pandemic, but we’re also making important reforms to encourage investment in Ohio and help our state better compete for major economic development projects.

On this latter point, our new budget includes a so-called “mega project” initiative, which will help Ohio compete nationally for major new employers — ones that will have either $1 billion in capital investment or more than $75 million in annual payroll.

I know our partners at JobsOhio are actively working to tell Ohio’s story to job creators and business leaders across America. I believe this new proposal will help make Ohio even more competitive.

Another provision that will help families and businesses alike is broadband expansion. The new state budget includes $250 million for broadband. Make no mistake, broadband is a critical part of our infrastructure, connecting people with economic, educational and entertainment opportunities.

We’re providing $25 million for law enforcement training and body cameras, supporting veterans organizations and Ohio’s two veterans homes, and providing aid to local first responders for equipment and training.

The budget is also making a major investment to boost revitalization, providing $350 million for brownfield remediation, and $150 million for demolition and site revitalization to address blighted properties.

I’ve been involved with 19 state budgets through the years. I can say without hesitation, this is a budget we can be proud of.

At 2,438 pages, this budget was truly a team effort between the Ohio House, Ohio Senate, and the DeWine-Husted administration. Of course, no budget is complete without the invaluable input of Ohioans from across the state who have shared their perspective and expertise to make this budget a reality.

State Rep. Scott Oelslager, R-North Canton, who is chair of the House Finance Committee, helped craft the state budget that went into effect July 1.

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