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Biennial Budget Clears Ohio House with Bipartisan Support

Am. Sub. H.B. 64 cuts taxes, helps small businesses and provides a balanced approach to funding Ohio's schools
April 22, 2015
Republican Newsroom

Press Release Poster

Today, the Ohio House of Representatives passed Amended Substitute House Bill 64, the biennial state budget bill that allocates funding to schools, community projects and government initiatives as well as providing significant tax relief to all Ohioans and small businesses in the state.

As part of Am. Sub. House Bill 64, Ohioans will see a sizable tax cut totaling $1.2 billion over the biennium with a 6.3 percent across-the-board income tax reduction beginning this year, lowering the top rate to just under 5 percent—the lowest it’s been since 1982. The bill prioritizes small businesses by permanently instituting a 75-percent tax deduction for the first $250,000 in income, ensuring that businesses can grow and create jobs. A commission has also been created in the legislation to discuss further tax reform for the benefit of Ohioans and Ohio businesses.

The House’s budget plan has received support from various business groups and interested parties for its business-friendly tax initiatives. Some of these groups include the Buckeye Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, the Council of Smaller Enterprises, the Ohio Farm Bureau, the Ohio Society of CPAs, the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, the National Federation of Independent Business/Ohio (NFIB), the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

On the issue of school funding, Am. Sub. House Bill 64 appropriates $950 million in state-aid—increasing the executive proposal by $270 million. The school funding component of the bill ensures that no school will see a decrease in state funding over the next two years.  Additionally, the passed legislation allocates funding to make up for dollars lost because of the TPP and KWH reimbursement phase out.

Pertaining to higher education, the budget bill prohibits colleges and universities from charging an overload fee to students for taking more than a certain number of credit hours. Provisions in the bill also require colleges participating in the College Credit Plus Program to offer an associate degree pathway and fund the Workforce Grant Program.

With a focused approach on guaranteeing that Ohioans are able to get the health care they need, the budget proposal develops a plan to assist individuals who need help getting off government aid by implementing cost transparency measures, requiring the Department of Medicaid to seek waivers to allow for savings accounts and requiring a report of clinical care and outcomes of the Medicaid expansion population to be examined by the General Assembly.

Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) released the following statement on the passage of Am. Sub. H.B. 64:

“I am pleased with the finalized budget plan that the House passed today. Working with the governor’s initial proposal allowed us to build from his strong and innovative vision for Ohio. Especially in the areas of tax reform, school funding, veterans services and the healthcare industry, Am. Sub. House Bill 64 continues to move Ohio on a glide path toward greater economic success and a better place for our students and families to live.

I applaud Chairman Smith, Vice Chair Schuring and the rest of the Finance Committee and Finance subcommittees for their efforts on this bill. Because of them, the rest of my colleagues in the House and my fellow Ohioans, we were able to pass a bill that is sustainable, fiscally sound and forward-thinking. I am truly proud of this budget and look forward to continuing our work on this legislation with the Senate to ensure that the budget benefits the people of Ohio.”

Chairman of the House Finance Committee Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) released the following statement:

“The House’s budget is the result of careful consideration, thorough discussion and in-depth research. Through the committee process, we have been able to draft and pass a bill that is indicative of the huge strides Ohio has made in recent years as it builds from changes implemented by this chamber, the Senate and the governor’s office during the last two budget cycles. Our goal with Am. Sub. House Bill 64 was to maintain a balanced budget, while offering a comprehensive and holistic approach to tax reform and school funding.

I want to commend Speaker Rosenberger on his leadership during this process and those on the Finance Committee for their work on the bill. I also want to thank all the constituents and interested parties who provided commentary throughout this endeavor and hope to continue hearing their thoughts as the Senate takes on the task of vetting the bill.”

Other provisions in the bill include:

  • Creating the Ohio Military Facilities Commission, which would provide state funding to military installations in Ohio to ensure that they are prepared for the upcoming BRAC
    • Supporting rape crisis centers with an additional $500,000 per year
    • Providing an additional $2.75 million per year to Ohio food banks
    • Creating the Health Food Financing Initiative to support access to healthy food in underserved areas
    • Maintaining TANF funding for the Ohio Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program
    • Earmarking $750,000 per year to the Ohio Legal Aid Fund to provide representation to economically disadvantaged veterans
    • Providing $1.25 million to the Secretary of State to mail absentee ballot applications to Ohio voters
    • Making a $10 million capital appropriation to begin work on the rehabilitation of the Buckeye Lake dam and requiring all contracts including incentives for early completion
    • Establishing the Defense/Aerospace Workforce Development Initiative and appropriating $10 million per year to strengthen Ohio’s aviation industry
    • Forming the Local Government Safety Capital Grant Program to provide up to $100,000 to help local governments pay for public safety-related capital costs
    • Extending safe harbor provisions to teachers and students through FY’17
    • Appropriating funds to the Resurrecting Lives Foundation for traumatic brain injury programs

Am. Sub. House Bill 64 will now head to the Senate for further consideration.