State Representative Tim Ginter (R-Salem) today applauded the House passage of Amended Substitute House Bill 64, the biennial state budget bill that allocates funding to schools, community projects and government initiatives, as well as providing significant tax relief to all Ohioans and small businesses in the state.
As part of Am. Sub. House Bill 64, Ohioans will see a sizable tax cut totaling $1.2 billion over the biennium with a 6.3 percent across-the-board income tax reduction beginning this year, lowering the top rate to just under 5 percent—the lowest it has been since 1982. The bill prioritizes small businesses by permanently instituting a 75-percent tax deduction for the first $250,000 in income, ensuring that businesses can grow and create jobs. A commission has also been created in the legislation to discuss further tax reform for the benefit of Ohioans and Ohio businesses.
Among the House-proposed changes from the Governor’s executive plan dealt with the topic of taxes. The House stripped out of the bill the Governor’s proposal to increase the severance tax on oil and gas drilling in the state. Additionally, the House-passed version of the bill did not feature a one-dollar increase in the cigarette tax, as was proposed by the Governor.
The House’s budget plan has received support from various business groups and interested parties for its business-friendly tax initiatives. Some of these groups include the Buckeye Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, the Council of Smaller Enterprises, the Ohio Farm Bureau, the Ohio Society of CPAs, the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, the National Federation of Independent Business/Ohio (NFIB), the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.
On the issue of school funding, Am. Sub. House Bill 64 appropriates $950 million in state-aid—increasing the executive proposal by $270 million. The school funding component of the bill ensures that no school will see a decrease in state funding over the next two years. Additionally, the passed legislation allocates funding to make up for dollars lost because of the TPP and KWH reimbursement phase-out.
“I am proud to announce my support for Am. Sub. House Bill 64,” Ginter said. “While no budget is perfect, this budget strikes a balanced approach to the incredible array of items necessarily included in the state budget. I am glad to see that certain taxes that would have been detrimental to job growth and our businesses in Columbiana County have either been removed or significantly reduced. I am particularly pleased that the school funding formula has been adjusted so that all of our local schools have received funding increases.”
Pertaining to higher education, the budget bill prohibits colleges and universities from charging an overload fee to students for taking more than a certain number of credit hours. Provisions in the bill also require colleges participating in the College Credit Plus Program to offer an associate degree pathway and fund the Workforce Grant Program.
With a focused approach on guaranteeing that Ohioans are able to get the health care they need, the budget proposal develops a plan to assist individuals who need help getting off government aid by implementing cost transparency measures, requiring the Department of Medicaid to seek waivers to allow for savings accounts and work requirements, and requiring a report of clinical care and outcomes of the Medicaid expansion population to be examined by the General Assembly.
Other provisions in the bill include:
- Creating the Ohio Military Facilities Commission, which would provide state funding to military installations in Ohio to ensure that they are prepared for the upcoming BRAC
- Supporting rape crisis centers with an additional $500,000 per year
- Providing an additional $2.75 million per year to Ohio food banks
- Creating the Health Food Financing Initiative to support access to healthy food in underserved areas
- Maintaining TANF funding for the Ohio Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program
- Earmarking $750,000 per year to the Ohio Legal Aid Fund to provide representation to economically disadvantaged veterans.
- Providing $1.25 million to the Secretary of State to mail absentee ballot applications to Ohio voters
- Making a $10 million capital appropriation to begin work on the rehabilitation of the Buckeye Lake dam and requiring all contracts including incentives for early completion
- Establishing the Defense/Aerospace Workforce Development Initiative and appropriating $10 million per year to strengthen Ohio’s aviation industry
- Forming the Local Government Safety Capital Grant Program to provide up to $100,000 to help local governments pay for public safety-related capital costs
- Extending safe harbor provisions to teachers and students through FY’17
- Appropriating funds to the Resurrecting Lives Foundation for traumatic brain injury programs
Am. Sub. House Bill 64 will now head to the Senate for further consideration.