May 2, 2017 – The Ohio House of Representatives passed their budget (HB 49) today. We are pleased that the $3 billion tax shift proposed by Governor Kasich was removed and was not included in the bill passed today. The proposed tax shift would have cut income taxes by 17% and increased the sales, severance, tobacco, and other taxes to raise revenue. After more than a decade of tax shifts and cuts, we know that they just haven’t worked to create the needed jobs and wage growth in Ohio. Instead these tax policies have cost Ohio billions of dollars of needed revenue that could be invested in reducing tuition, improving infrastructure, and strengthening our communities.
The budget bill now moves to the Senate where it will be debated for the next month or so prior to a conference committee to reconcile the differences. Contact your Senator today and encourage them to seek new revenue before they cut public services.
Education: The House budget adds more than $90 million into the K-12 education funding formula than the Governor’s original proposal. While the new money is a strong improvement, many schools districts will still receive a funding cut in FY2018. Higher education will be flat funded with a small increase to the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) of $3 million over two years. College affordability in Ohio continues to rank among the worst of the states, and this budget does little to address the high costs.
Health and Human Services: HB 49 invests an additional $170 million, over two years, into efforts to address the opiate epidemic in Ohio. This money will be divided between treatment beds, local ADAMHS boards, drug court programs, children services, and other initiatives for an ‘all hands on deck’ approach. The budget will also expand the Ohio Housing Trust Fund to increase resources available for homeless and affordable housing programs serving all 88 counties.
Medicaid: HB49 now creates new barriers for hard-working, low-income Ohioans, including work requirements, for those on Medicaid. The House also wants to impose new bureaucratic steps to fund Medicaid Expansion by requiring approval every six months by the controlling board. These policies will cost Ohio federal investment, and cause many Ohioans to lose healthcare coverage.
Local Government: The House was unable to address the “MCO Tax” issue that will cost counties and transit agencies that rely on local sales tax revenue millions of dollars. Due to federal policies related to Medicaid, Ohio cannot charge a sales tax on only Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCO). The House also proposed a six year phase-in of a CAUV tax change (CAUV is the formula used to assess property taxes on agricultural land). These changes will reduce local funding available to schools and local government in rural and agricultural areas over the long-term that rely heavily on property taxes.
Senate Leadership has already made statements that indicate more budget cuts are coming.