House Republicans Offer Tax Cuts, School Funding Change in New Ohio Budget Proposal

Group of young students
by J.D. Davidson


Ohio House Republicans announced Tuesday they want to put the focus on funding the state’s schools and tax breaks.

The House Finance Committee accepted a substitute bill containing the House GOP’s version of a new two-year state budget, which also includes COVID-19 relief help for small businesses and more oversight of state spending.

“This is a thoughtful, structurally balanced and comprehensive budget plan that funds Ohio’s priorities and invests in Ohio’s future,” said Finance Committee Chair Rep. Scott Oelslager, R-North Canton.

The plan includes a 2% personal income tax rate cut, which Republicans said will reduce taxes by $380 million over the next two years. The plan also reinstates the sales tax exemption for investment metal bullion and investment coins.

The school funding plan has been years in the making and would be phased in over the next six years, beginning with the next school year. Republicans said it’s designed to make sure no district loses funding transitioning from one formula to the next.

Initially introduced this session in early February, the school proposal changes the base cost formula to include a district’s income and takes into account everything involved in education, including professional development and extracurricular activities. It could mean $2 billion more for primary and secondary public schools.

The plan looks at two basic steps. First, what is the base cost to educate a student and how much can local communities pay.

A key change to local funding, according to the bill sponsors, is the new plan will base 60% of a district’s local funding capacity on property values and 40% on resident income.

The plan also changes how community schools and voucher systems are paid. The money will go to the school educating the student, rather than the home district and then passed on.

It is nearly identical to the proposal that passed the House last session but stalled in the Senate as the session expired.

Republicans also proposed sending $155 million in COVID-19 aid to restaurants and bars, the lodging industry, new businesses and indoor and outdoor entertainment venues.

Hearings on the budget proposal are expected to take place this week, and Republicans expect additional changes could be made before a final vote next week.

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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He is regional editor for The Center Square.











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