COLUMBUS – Education reform, meaningful tax relief and investments to help Ohio keep and create jobs are among the highlights of the state budget plan approved by lawmakers, announced State Rep. Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville).
“This budget provides smart, targeted investments throughout Ohio that will help us make a full recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.” said Richardson. “I’m proud of what we are able to accomplish for Ohioans through this budget, and I look forward to seeing the positive results of this legislation.”
Among the highlights in a robust education reform package is the Fair School Funding Plan, which is the result of more than three years of work by educators and policymakers. The budget also enhances EdChoice options. This historic collaboration has produced a comprehensive funding formula that is rational and predictable and will provide for children across Ohio.
As Chair of the Finance Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education, Richardson worked with educators, school funding experts and child advocates to find solutions and make improvements to Ohio’s current school funding formula. Richardson education led committee policy discussions regarding the state operating budget.
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 by $2 billion over the biennium.
The budget also makes an historic commitment to expanding broadband in Ohio by committing $250 million to support grants under the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program and the Ohio Broadband Expansion Program Authority. The plan, which previously passed the House in House Bill 2, targets the problem of last mile connectivity to households where it remains cost-prohibitive for private providers to otherwise extend their service.
Richardson applauded other key provisions:
- Gifted Students: Ensures that funds dedicated to gifted students are spent specifically for those purposes.
- Electronic Bingo: Establishes electronic instant bingo as a separate type of bingo, along with traditional bingo, raffles, and instant bingo, but largely regulates the operation of electronic instant bingo in the same manner as instant bingo.
- Caring For Seniors: Increases the budget by an additional $6.7 million for home care workers and senior services.
- Food Banks: Provides $12 million in COVID-19 relief funds over the biennium, with an additional $500,000 allocated each fiscal year to support Ohio’s food banks.
Ohio’s new two-year state budget must be in place by June 30.