COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – With a vote of 85 to 9, the Ohio House of Representatives passed its version of the State Operating Budget.
Every state representative from the Youngstown area voted yes. Youngstown’s Michele Lepore-Hagan said Republicans worked with Democrats.
Lepore-Hagan said she liked the tax cuts for the middle class, the investment in education and changes to House Bill 70 — eliminating the academic distress commissions and returning school districts like Youngstown back to local control.
Also in it, tax cuts for every Ohioan were given out. A flat 6.6% reduction in what is already being taken out of workers’ paychecks was offered. This stretches across the board regardless of income.
Further, the House decided to exempt the lowest three tax brackets from paying taxes at all; anyone paying less than $22,250 will have no liability.
In addition to the cuts, lawmakers reduced eligibility for what has come to be referred to as the LLC Loophole.
If the measure stays intact, the budget would reduce the exemption of taxes related to a personal business up to $100,000 instead of the current $250,000.
Lawmakers also are trying to remove a flat 3% tax cut for people with businesses making over $250,000.
The cutting of other tax breaks includes one that was supposed to attract motion pictures to Ohio.
The House voted to eliminate the Motion Picture Tax Credit of around $40 million, which was given on a first come first served basis. Recently, the program was completely used every year.
Finally, lawmakers voted to add a sales tax to ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.
The budget spent a lot of money on education and children services, more than what the governor had proposed in many cases.
Despite not getting a new school funding model in place, additional dollars were set aside for rural schools.
When it comes to healthcare, State Representative Jim Butler’s Prizes for Cures bill was added to the budget.
For the past two General Assemblies, Butler has been unable to get the bill over the finish line, though he says he came close last year.
Now, he may not have to worry about that if he can convince both the Senate and the governor to keep the provision in the bill.
It would create a compact of states that would give a prize to someone who comes up with a cure for specific diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Once the cure is found, any savings the state would experience as a result of the cure would be added to the savings in other states that join the compact.
Butler points out, the prizes are not tied to money that would have to be budgeted and would be the result of savings the state sees.
There was one removal from the budget at the last minute.
Changes to the Healthy Ohio Program were added to the budget yesterday.
Once Democrats had time to look at the changes, they said red flags started to go up.
A conversation between House leaders led to the changes being stripped from the budget and an agreement to work on them as a stand-alone bill.
The budget now goes to the Senate where that chamber will shape it into what they think the state should use.
It is highly likely the budget will come back to the House and a conference committee will have to be convened to work out any final details before sending it to the governor.
Governor Mike DeWine is being patient at this point with the budget. He says he is employing skills he learned as a child.
“One thing you learn in kindergarten is, it’s somebody’s turn. Well, this is not my turn, you know, I had my turn. Then the House has their turn. Now the Senate is gonna have their turn, and then I’m gonna get a turn again,” DeWine said.
The governor will have the power of the veto pen should he desire to use it.