COLUMBUS - State Senator Kevin Bacon (R-Minerva Park) today announced the Senate passage of Substitute House Bill 64, the state's 2-year budget proposal, with a 23-10 vote.  The bill includes substantial new funding for education and more than $1.75 billion in tax relief for hardworking Ohioans and small business owners. 

"This budget invests taxpayer dollars where they count," said Senator Bacon. "It eases the tax burden on businesses and families while freezing tuition for undergraduate students and investing nearly $1 billion in Ohio's K-12 schools."

The Senate budget includes several notable amendments submitted by Bacon, including:
  • Jon Peterson and Autism Scholarships: Increases cap of scholarship amounts from $20,000 to $27,000, allowing students with special needs to receive the educational assistance and therapy they need to excel in school.
  • Annual Special Olympics: Provides $250,000 to The Ohio State University to help cover the expense of housing and feeding Special Olympics athletes every year.
The Senate budget also includes provisions strongly supported by Bacon, including:
  • Choice for Disabled Individuals: Increases waiver slots to help those with disabilities receive service from home instead of in an institution, providing greater choice to disabled individuals and their loved ones.
"I am proud that the Senate budget increases funding for individuals with special needs, from the autism scholarship to the Special Olympics," Bacon said. "We continue to invest in programs that offer these individuals greater autonomy and opportunity in their local communities."

Among the other major highlights in the bill, the Senate-passed budget:
  • Tax Cuts: Reduces Ohio’s income tax rate by 6.3 percent, returning $1.26 billion to taxpayers over the next two years, allowing Ohioans the opportunity to keep more of their hard-earned money.
     
  • Small Business Tax Relief: Eliminates the entire state tax burden on small businesses with income up to $250,000 and creates an innovative, new 3% flat tax for small businesses above that income level. This allows small businesses, the backbone of Ohio's economy, the opportunity to invest back into job creation and infrastructure.
     
  • Reduces Spending: Spends less overall than any previous state budget plan introduced this year. It also reduces proposed overall Medicaid spending by more than $1 billion, giving the state the opportunity to focus on finding efficiencies and improved patient outcomes.
     
  • Investing in K-12: Invests more than $935 million new dollars into students and schools over the next two years ($351.5 million in FY16 and maintains that additional funding in FY17 and adds $233 million more) and holds all districts harmless to FY15 funding amounts. It provides an opportunity for predictability and sustainability for school districts, driving additional dollars to low-wealth, low-capacity districts while ensuring more districts are on the funding formula. The Senate-passed version of the budget also implements various testing reform recommendations of the Senate Advisory Committee on Testing, such as reducing hours of required testing.
     
  • Higher Ed Affordability and Support: Makes the largest state investment in SSI (state share of instruction) for higher education in eight years. The bill also gives college students and their families the opportunity for a more affordable college education by instituting a two-year freeze on tuition rate increases and requiring Ohio’s public universities and colleges to find ways to reduce student costs by five percent.
     
  • Support for Essential Services: Appropriates $33 million over the biennium to the Department of Developmental Disabilities' Medicaid Services to correct unintentional funding reductions from caseload estimates. It also restores or provides additional funding for essential services, such as pregnancy care, breast and cervical cancer screenings for women, foodbank services, various healthcare, arts and youth programs, all of which give Ohioans opportunities to improve their lives, health and economic situations.
 The bill will now return to the Ohio House of Representatives, where it is expected to be referred to a conference committee that will reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions. The Ohio Constitution requires that the budget be balanced, and by law, the bill must be signed by the Governor on or before July 1.

The Ohio Channel will begin broadcasting the Conference Committee at 10:00am on Friday, June 19, 2015. To watch the live stream, visit 
http://www.ohiochannel.org/
 
 
 
  
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