State Rep. Gail Pavliga (R-Portage County) voted to support the state operating budget bill, which passed in the General Assembly on Friday. The legislation provides billions in funding over the next two fiscal years to build a strong foundation for the state’s future.
“Ohio is our home and we really worked hard to include items that will positively impact all Ohioans,” Pavliga said. “We’re committing to a flatter tax cut for the middle class, substantial education funding and expansion while increasing teacher salaries, many pro-family initiatives, and large investments in economic development to enhance our state’s workforce.”
As a member of the House Finance Committee, Pavliga played an important part in the budget process. Additionally, the representative spearheaded priority legislation included in the budget that creates $100 million in tax credits for affordable workforce housing for economic development.
As Chair of the Behavioral Health Committee, Pavliga also pushed for funding of the 988 suicide prevention hotline after previously championing a bill to establish the initiative in Ohio. Pavliga also secured $2.5M for Coleman Health Services in Portage County to upgrade their facility for a crisis stabilization center that will also include space for children. Pavliga also advocated for the amendment to NEOMED that received millions of dollars for their opening of a new dental school. Lastly, $60,000 will going to the Rootstown Historical Society in Portage County.
Specific highlights of the finalized state budget includes:
o Income tax rate of 0% for those making $0 to $26,000.
o Income tax rate of 2.75% for those making $26,000 to $100,000.
o Income tax rate of 3.5% for those making above $100,000.
o Two-week sales tax holiday event that will be held starting August 2024.
o Maintained the commercial activity tax (CAT) beginning in 2024 for businesses grossing $3M or less and $6M beginning in 2025, which will affect a significant portion of Ohio-based businesses.
o Fully funds Fair School Funding Formula with over $16 billion in primary and secondary education.
o Expands school choice with a universal voucher program with House amendment language that protects lower income families.
o Increases the base teacher salary to $35,000.
o Establishes the Department of Education and Workforce.
o Invests million in career tech and STEM education programs.
o Funds free and reduced school breakfast and lunch programs.
o Establishes scholarship program to keep Ohio’s best and brightest.
· Economic Development and Infrastructure
o Establishes the All Ohio Future Fund with $750M for site development to spur economic development and job creation.
o Continues investment in H2Ohio.
o Includes Brownfield remediation funding.
o SNAP benefits for families to ensure access to nutrition.
o Requiring Medicaid coverage of donor breast milk and milk fortifies to help infant development.
o Childcare infrastructure at $16M.
o Investing in early childhood education over $32M.
o Funding for Ohio’s Foodbanks.
· Higher Education
o Establishes a merit scholarship program to keep Ohio’s best and brightest.
o The top 5% of each class is eligible for a scholarship to an Ohio college or university.
o The budget increases the eligibility for the Ohio College Opportunity Grants.
o Places a 3% tuition cap at all public colleges and universities.
· Public Safety
o MARCS reimbursement to assist first responders with public safety.
o Funding for the implementation of the Next Gen 9-1-1 program in Ohio. This empowers first responders with advanced technology and capabilities to serve the public effectively in emergencies.
o Funding for law enforcement training.
The budget bill now moves to the governor for his consideration.