COLUMBUS – Today, State Reps. Daniel Troy (D-Willowick), Jamie Callender (R-Concord), and the Ohio House approved House Bill 110, otherwise known as the two-year state operating budget for Fiscal Years 2022-2023. The legislation highlights include a new school funding reform plan, tax relief, jobs and economic support, and several other initiatives.
“The budget bill is the most important public policy document that the General Assembly processes. It defines our state’s public policy priorities by virtue of the investments we make in the critical services that ensure a civilized society,” Rep. Troy stated.
“A reformed and landmark school funding formula, special earmarks for STEM initiatives to help train and grow the needed workforce for our manufacturing economy, dollars to protect our Lake Erie shoreline, and assistance to our Emergency Management Agency and area safety forces- all will help improve the quality of life in Lake County,” Rep. Troy concluded.
Rep. Troy has often stated that he has never voted against a budget bill at the municipal, county, and state level, and he certainly had no problem supporting this one.
Several of the local items of note include:
· $300,000 for the Lake County Emergency Management Agency to improve wireless and microwave communication for emergency operations.
· $320,000 to the Educational Service Center for the Western Reserve to support STEM initiatives for middle school students in counties affiliated with the Alliance for Working
· Language to allow a special improvement district to fund projects to abate erosion along waters within a watershed district.
· Additional supplement payments to school districts and joint fire districts that have a nuclear power plant in their territory to help protect their funding from instability resulting from the power plant.
“I think this may be one of our most important and significant budgets yet as we come out of this global pandemic,” Callender said. “The budget provides critical support for a number of Lake county initiatives and takes the massive step of finally reforming our school funding formula with the Fair School Funding Plan – this is a historic day for our state with this budget moving forward.”
The school funding reform plan included in the bill is the result of more than three years of work by educators and policymakers. The Fair School Funding Plan is predictable, sustainable and transparent. Callender also introduced the Fair School Funding Plan legislation for this General Assembly under House Bill 1. The plan will be phased in over the next six years, beginning with the 2021-22 school year, and is designed to ensure no district loses funding during the transition to a new formula.
In addition to school funding reform and tax relief, the plan provides COVID-19 relief aid to help businesses impacted by the pandemic. The House budget proposal appropriates $155 million in COVID-19 relief aid to help businesses impacted by the pandemic. Grants from this funding will be available in the fiscal year beginning July 1. The package includes:
• $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
Additionally, the budget bill includes targeted investments to support Ohio jobs, businesses and the economy. This portion of the bill focuses on expanding procurement law to give preference to American and Ohio products. The legislation also focuses on workforce development through a committee to study workforce training and several programs to support employment opportunities.
House Bill 110 also includes a series of provisions in support of law enforcement, firefighters and public safety. Some of the initiatives include security grants, school safety grants, body cameras, law enforcement training investment, firefighter grants, and funding for the Ohio Cyber Reserve.
The House plan also contains several provisions that are part of a broader effort to increase legislative oversight and government accountability on state spending. These include:
· Joint Legislative Oversight and Review Committee of Federal COVID Relief Aid – This panel will provide more oversight of federal COVID relief aid spent by the state.
· State Controlling Board – The budget calls for more agency spending initiatives to come before the board for review and approval. The seven-person board is comprised of three House members, three Senate members and a designee of the governor’s budget director.
The legislation also includes a two percent personal income tax rate cut, which will reduce taxes approximately $380 million over the biennium. Coupled with recently passed legislation (Senate Bill 18) conforming Ohio’s tax code with federal law, the House is providing a nearly $500 million in personal income tax relief this biennium.
The budget plan, under House Bill 110, now heads to the Senate for further action.