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Ohio Senate Says Budget Proposal Eases Taxpayers' Burdens

State of Ohio

Tax cuts are the big feature in the Ohio Senate’s newly proposed two year budget. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports.  

President Keith Faber says the proposed Republican Senate budget is smaller than the plans proposed by Gov. John Kasich and the Ohio House. But he says his chamber’s plan has one key goal.

“We are continuing today to build on our commitment to fund what matters and return to the taxpayers what’s not essential,” Faber says.

And even though the senate plan doesn’t include the 23% income tax cut proposed by Kasich, Faber says the proposed budget has lots of provisions to ease burdens on Ohio’s taxpayers.

“Our budget reduces Ohio’s income tax rate by 6.3% across the board, saving taxpayers $1.26 billion over the next two years. It eliminates the entire state tax burden on small businesses for all income up to the first $250,000 and then creates an innovative new flat tax for small businesses above that income tax level. It removes a proposed state income tax on social security benefits that was in the Governor’s and the House versions, saving senior citizens more than $260 million. Our net tax reduction in this budget totals more than $1.7 billion,” Faber explains.

One thing this plan doesn’t contain – proposed hikes in the state sales tax, the tax on gas and oil drilling…or the commercial activities tax – all part of the Governor’s tax reform plan.  The senate’s proposed budget does include a 40 cent tax on each pack of cigarettes sold with the money raised going to smoking cessation programs. Kasich wanted a higher tax on tobacco, but the House stripped out that tax increase entirely. Since there are so few tax increases proposed along with the income tax cut, advocates for poor Ohioans are waiting to see the details of the plan that will come out soon. With all of this money going toward tax cuts, they worry the people they serve will pay the price. Faber didn’t share many details.

“We did funding reductions in agencies, we did funding reductions in various places, we pulled a lot of additional spend out that was added in various places, either the administration or other areas. And so ultimately, what we did was focus on priorities. If it was a new program, it probably wasn’t funded,” Faber says.

Advocates for those programs that are not funded as part of this proposed plan will have some recourse in the coming days as testimony on the plan will take place this week. A vote is likely next week.

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