Ohio House Set To Vote On Budget With More Income Tax Breaks
The House will vote on its version of the $69 billion state budget Thursday, after the first unanimous committee vote in more than a decade.
Lawmakers increased an income tax cut they had proposed last week – eliminating taxes for anyone making under $22,500 and cutting taxes at all other levels by 6.6%.
Chair state Rep. Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton) was pleased with the vote.
“I think we shown the world that both parties can get together and work constructively. I wish all the kids in every high school in the state could have been watching," Oelslager said.
The GOP-controlled House scheduled a vote on the spending plan following its approval by the House Finance Committee a day earlier. Minority Democrats joined majority Republicans in a rare unanimous committee vote.
"This will be the first budget that I will vote for as a member of the minority party, and I do so proudly because of the work that's been done by members of both sides of the aisle," said state Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire).
Cera, the top Democrat on the finance committee, said he appreciated the bill's support for workers, small businesses, schools and people with drug addiction.
The plan also changes a deduction for small businesses, which had been allowed to take the first $250,000 in income tax-free, dropping that to the first $100,000 in income. Business groups objected to the changes.
The proposal increases the minimum salary for Ohio teachers from $20,000 to $30,000 annually, and adds $125 million to Gov. Mike DeWine's education proposal. The budget would also:
- Require public universities to guarantee students the same tuition rate from their freshman through senior years.
- Direct the Education Department to create a program offering breakfast to all students at schools where seven of 10 students already are eligible for free or reduced price breakfasts.
- Fund DeWine's proposed water quality initiative at requested levels of $85 million over two years, with the promise of a separate bill to address long-term water quality concerns in Ohio.
- Eliminate tax credits for the motion picture industry or for making a political contribution, and direct ride-sharing companies such as Lyft and Uber to collect and remit sales taxes.
- Provide $2 million in each of the next two years to support grants to reduce infant mortality.
The last time a budget passed a House committee unanimously was in 2007.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.