GOP proposed Ohio House budget includes tax cut

ajc.com

A proposed state budget released today by the Ohio House Republican majority would cut personal income taxes by 2 percent, reform school funding and provide pandemic relief to businesses.

The tax cut would reduce state revenues by $380 million over the two-year budget period.

The school funding plan would be phased in over six years starting with the 2021-2022 school year. It is the result of more than three years of study by educators and policymakers, according to a news release from the House Majority office.

The proposal builds on Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed $171.6 billion biennial budget that was introduced earlier this year.

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“This is a thoughtful, structurally balanced and comprehensive budget plan that funds Ohio’s priorities and invests in Ohio’s future,” said House Finance Chairman Scott Oelslager, R-North Canton.

House Democrats praised priorities of theirs that were included in the proposal but were critical of the tax cut. State Rep. Erica C. Crawley, D-Columbus, said: “Another Republican tax giveaway that largely benefits millionaires and billionaires isn’t what we need as countless Ohioans continue to feel the uncertainty of our current health and economic crisis.”

Crawley, the ranking Democrat on the House Finance Committee, said in a news release that the state should be investing in child care, housing and other things benefitting working people and families in the state.

“Democrats made real, substantive improvements to this budget, including fair school funding, which is a historic step to ensuring the promise of a quality public education for all Ohio students,” Crawley said. “But the fact is this budget needs a lot of work to be the bold blueprint for Ohio’s future Democrats wanted to see.”

The GOP budget proposal also appropriates $155 million in COVID-19 relief aid to help businesses impacted by the pandemic, according to the news release. The grants, which would be available in the fiscal year beginning July 1, include:

  • $100 million for restaurants and bars.
  • $25 million for the lodging industry.
  • $20 million for indoor and outdoor entertainment venues.
  • $10 million in relief for new businesses.

Crawley said other “Democratic wins” in the budget proposal include:

  • Increases of $2.5 million in each of the next two years for rape crisis centers and $1.5 million for domestic violence programs.
  • Increases in funding for the state legal defense fund to $6 million annually.
  • $5.8 million in each of the next two years for adult protective services.
  • $3.4 million annually for the Commission on Minority Health for infant mortality grants.

The finance committee will hold hearings and is likely to make changes, according to the news release. Final passage is expected next week, and then the bill would go over to the Ohio Senate for consideration.

The final budget must be approved by June 30, and the state’s new fiscal year begins July 1.

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