Skip to main content
State Seal State Seal State Seal
Home Button Home Button Home Button

Richardson: House bills will help Ohio's economy, families, communities

Published By Marion Star on March 28, 2023
Tracy M. Richardson In The News

Rep. Tracy Richardson, R-Marysville, said the legislative agenda she's supporting during this term of the General Assembly is dedicated to "growing the economy, protecting Ohio families, and educating our communities.”

Richardson has listed the following pieces of legislation on her website as "key priority bills" that she is backing during the 135th General Assembly:

  • House Bill 1 - Modify the law regarding property taxation and income tax rates.
  • House Bill 2 - Direct state funds for economic growth and community development.
  • House Bill 4 - Regards certain economic boycotts, discrimination by businesses (Anti-ESG).
  • House Bill 5 - Modernize the adoption process.
  • House Bill 6 - Enact the Save Women's Sports Act.
  • House Bill 8 - Enact the Parents Bill of Rights.
  • House Bill 10 - Continue phasing-in the school financing system (Fair School Funding Plan).
  • House Bill 11 - Establish the Backpack Scholarship Program.

Some public school district officials have expressed misgivings about certain aspects of some of the bills, in particular HB1 and HB11.

House Bill 1 would eliminate the 10% property tax rollback and modify the 2.5% owner-occupied rollback to be a flat $15 tax credit as well as modify the state income tax brackets and establish a 2.75% flat income tax rate. Richardson said she believes the bill, which is currently being discussed in the House Ways and Means Committee, will provide financial relief for Ohioans.

"We want Ohioans to keep more of their hard-earned dollars in their pockets," she said. "This resonates with residents of the 86th District. People are genuinely concerned about rising costs and making ends meet. Therefore, the state needs to be judicious, careful, and thoughtful with how we spend tax dollars. ... HB1 would reduce much of what Ohioans pay to the state in the form of income tax. It would also help make everyone's tax filing simpler. The challenge that we face as state leaders is how to make up for the revenue that will no longer be spent and yet is currently in the budget. This is what we're working on right now in committee."

Richardson, chairperson of the subcommittee on education, said she understands and appreciates the concerns that school district officials have regarding House Bill 1.

"I've been talking with superintendents about HB1 and the concerns that local (school district officials) have right now with HB1 is something (legislators) have to unravel," she said. "The 10% rollback would be eliminated under this bill, which means schools would receive less (state funding). We have to work through that issue with the bill. It's still early in the process."

House Bill 11, the so-called Backpack Bill, failed to gain traction during the 134th General Assembly and the lame duck session at the end of 2022, but has been resubmitted for this session. It would create "educational savings accounts" to provide funding (vouchers) for eligible students attending chartered non-public schools, homeschools, or non-chartered non-public schools. The proposed legislation would cost the state about $1.16 billion in its first year of implementation with increases annually.

"(Funding for school choice) is a major issue supported far and wide by (the Republican) caucus," Richardson said. "It's a priority bill of (House Speaker Jason Stephens, R-Kitts Hill) and it's important to us. Testimony about the bill is ongoing in the Primary and Secondary Education Committee and we'll see what the committee says about it. It may come to my subcommittee, but it needs to go through the process."

A similar bill is currently making its way through the Ohio Senate. Senate Bill 11 would cost less than the Backpack Bill, about $536.4 million in its initial year with annual increases. A key difference is that SB11 only requires funding (vouchers) for students attending chartered non-public schools. Additionally, it would require annual testing for students receiving vouchers.

Richardson said with all of these bills still in committee, there is opportunity for legislators to find middle ground on key issues.

"I think there's always room for compromise and collaboration. That's what makes for good policy," Richardson said.

Read Full Article