STATEHOUSE - 

State Senator Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) today announced the Senate’s passage of the state’s two-year budget proposal with vote of 23-10. The bill includes substantial new funding for education and more than $1.75 billion in net tax relief for hardworking Ohioans and small business owners. 

"With this budget, we continue our focus on fiscal responsibility, sustainability and stability," said Manning. "This budget gives Ohioans greater tax relief, a stronger economy, quality education, and vital support services. As a former school teacher, I am proud of the Senate's investments in K-12 education and emphasis on lowering tuition costs for Ohio's students and families. This budget is about ensuring that our children and grandchildren are prepared to succeed."

Senator Manning noted the inclusion of College Readiness and Access grant program which strengthens and develops Ohio's workforce, supports economically-challenged households, and creates a pathway to good-paying jobs. 

"The College Readiness and Access grants that will be made available through this state budget in the amount of $1 million per fiscal year will be open to existing early college high school programs throughout the State of Ohio in partnership with local institutions of higher learning," said Senator Manning. "Dr. Roy Church, President of Lorain County Community College, has been a great advocate of the program and a prime example of what this partnership can offer both students and colleges alike."

Over 680 students have enrolled in the Lorain County Early College High School Program since its inception in 2004. More than 92 percent of enrolled students have simultaneously earned an Associate of Arts degree and a high school diploma.

"This opportunity has changed the lives of these students and their families, many of whom became the first in their family to graduate college," added Senator Manning. "This program provides an academic and economic opportunity for students who may have never thought it possible."

Among the major highlights in the bill, the Senate plan:

  • 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.
     
  • 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), 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.
     
  • 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 percent 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.
     
  • 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.
     
  • Reduces Spending: Overall spends less 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.
     
  • Support for Essential Services: Restores or provides additional funding for essential services, such as pregnancy care, breast and cervical cancer screenings for women, foodbank services, various health care and youth programs, all which give Ohioans opportunities to improve their lives, health and economic situation. 

The budget bill will now be referred to a conference committee where the House and Senate versions will be reconciled. The Ohio Constitution requires that the budget be balanced, and, by law, the bill must be signed by the Governor by 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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