Oelslager Unveils $1.7 Billion Net Tax Cut In Biennial Budget Bill
Plan includes nearly $1 billion dollars in new school funding & one of the largest-ever state investments in higher education
Senator Oelslager unveils the Senate's version of the budget, which cuts taxes by $1.7 billion.
The Ohio Senate unveiled its first draft of the state’s two-year operating budget today, including substantial new funding for education and more than $1.7 billion in tax relief for hardworking Ohioans and small business owners.
Among some of the major highlights in the bill, the Senate plan:
  • Reduces Ohio’s income tax rate by 6.3 percent, saving taxpayers $1.26 billion over the next two years
  • Eliminates the entire state tax burden on small businesses with income up to $250,000 and creates an innovative, new flat tax for small businesses above that income level
  • Removes a proposed $264 million tax on senior citizens receiving Social Security benefits
  • Boosts Ohio’s savings account goal, setting aside nearly $2 billion for emergencies
  • Reduces proposed overall Medicaid spending by more than $1 billion
  • Spends less than any previous state budget plan introduced this year to date ($1.7 billion below the House plan and $1.1 billion below the Governor’s plan)
  • 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)
  • Freezes college tuition over the biennium for two- and four-year institutions
  • Makes the largest state investment in SSI (state share of instruction) for higher education in eight years
  • Restores funding for essential services, such as pregnancy care, breast and cervical cancer screenings for women and provides a significant boost in police training programs

“The Senate put a particular emphasis on fiscal responsibility, stability and sustainability, and the plan we’ve developed exceeds those goals. I want to commend Governor Kasich and our colleagues in the House for setting us on a path to this point, and we look forward to working with them toward a consensus in the days ahead," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton).
The Senate Finance Committee will open hearings on the new budget bill on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.  Live streaming of the committee is available on the Senate’s website or at OhioChannel.org.

 Budget Highlights
Providing Tax Relief: Ohioans Keep More
  • A 6.3% across the board income tax cut returns $1.26 billion to Ohioans.
  • As part of the tax relief package, the Senate plan also eliminates taxes on the first $250,000 of net income for small businesses (or $125K for individual filers) and establishes a 3% flat tax rate on income above that amount. Small businesses make up roughly 98 percent of all Ohio businesses and employ nearly one-half of the state’s private-sector workforce.
  • The Senate plan also eliminates a proposed state tax on Social Security benefits, saving senior citizens $264 million.
K-12 Education: Continuing our Strong Investment
  • The Senate bill provides predictability and sustainability for the state’s K-12 funding formula, driving additional dollars to low-wealth, low-capacity districts while ensuring more districts are on the funding formula.  
  • More than $935 million new dollars will be invested in primary and secondary education over the biennium, increasing the per pupil formula, and special education, career-technical education and K-3 literacy amounts ($351.5 million in FY16 and maintains that additional funding in FY17 and adds $233 million more).
  • The Senate Plan holds all districts harmless to their FY15 funding amounts and continues the phase-down of the TPPT supplement as proposed by the House.
Higher Education: A New Era of Affordability and Support
  • The Senate makes the largest state investment in SSI (state share of instruction) for higher education in eight years with $240 million of new funding over the biennium ($81.9 million in FY16 and maintains that additional funding in FY17 and adds $76.2 million more), while 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.
  • The Senate proposal will provide $100 million for need-based student aid through the Ohio College Opportunity Grant program by the end of the biennium.
Health Care: Fiscal Responsibility with Better Care
  • The Senate plan lowers per member, per month cost and rolls back needless spending in Medicaid, saving more than $1 billion on Medicaid spending overall and reducing health care costs statewide.
  • The Senate plan restores funding for Medicaid coverage of pregnant women up to 200% of the poverty level and restores coverage for breast and cervical cancer screenings for women on Medicaid.
Essential Services: Investing in Priorities
  • Police training programs and increased training hours, in response to recommendations made by the Police-Community Relations Task Force and the Ohio Attorney General
  • Revolving loan programs to help businesses affected by lakes in economic distress, such as Buckeye Lake
  • Nearly $13 million for a state-local partnership to provide new digital electronic pollbook technology to support Ohio’s voting process
  • Local government support fund specifically targeted to townships
  • Health care programs, such as Alzheimer’s care, Help Me Grow and others designed to decrease Ohio’s infant mortality rate
  • Ohio School for the Blind and School for the Deaf
  • School lunch and other youth programs, such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Children’s Wish and autism assistance scholarships
  • Various arts programs across the state
  • Largest investment in nearly a decade for tobacco cessation efforts
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