COLUMBUS – State Rep. D.J. Swearingen (R-Huron) 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.
“As a member of the House Finance Committee, it’s constitutionally required that we have a budget that is balanced, Ohio households balance their budgets and they should require the same from their government,” said Swearingen. “We were able to finally fix the school funding formula, provide tax cuts to all Ohioans, and sought to provide substantial business and job investment measures.”
The school funding reform plan is the result of more than three years of work by educators and policymakers. The Fair School Funding Plan is predictable, sustainable and transparent. 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.
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.
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.
Swearingen also submitted several amendments that are in the budget bill, including:
- Cutting income taxes.
- Requires state agencies to give preference to U.S. and Ohio products through the "competitive sealed bid process" when purchasing personal protective equipment.
- School Funding Protection
- Establishes mental health board reform by restoring more local control and provides boards’ greater efficiency and flexibility in offering their services.
Swearingen also noted that the budget includes substantial funding in support for soil and water districts related to Lake Erie and other funds to agencies to help protect the Great Lake.
The budget plan, under House Bill 110, now heads to the Senate for further action.