COLUMBUS – Today, the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus announced a budget plan that would erase the state budget deficit and provide additional funding for communities, schools, Medicaid, and the fight against Ohio’s opioid crisis. This could be accomplished by suspending the business investor tax break, which has failed to create jobs. It does not provide employers enough funds to hire any new workers. The nonpartisan Legislative Service Commission (LSC) estimates the tax deduction will cost Ohio over $1 billion per year during the next budget. 

“Ohio is facing a budget shortfall of over $1 billion. The Republicans' solution is to continue cutting funding for vital services, schools, and communities.  But Ohio’s budget shortfall is a result of the majority’s irresponsible tax policy,” said Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights). “We are throwing money away on a tax break that’s not creating jobs. If your house is on fire, you don’t stand there debating why it’s on fire. You put it out." 

By ending just one tax giveaway – the business investor tax break – the state would see over $2.2 billion in revenue over two years. The Senate Democrats’ plan would follow a three-step process:

Step 1: Suspend the business investor tax break for two years. This would bring in more than $2.2 billion over the biennium.

Step 2:Take approximately $1 billion in savings from suspending the tax break to erase Republican budget cuts and balance the budget.   

Step 3: Invest the remaining funds into the following priorities: 

Opioid Crisis - $200 million

  • Authorize temporary and immediate transfer from “rainy day” fund to local government services and treatment programs (Uses Senate Bill 154 as a roadmap).
    • Then repay the “rainy day” fund with General Revenue Fund (GRF) revenue.

Medicaid and Human Services - $200 million

  • Targeted investments to improve health outcomes.
  • Limit/remove premiums, work requirements and Controlling Board obstacles to Medicaid expansion.
  • Increase funding for Adult Protective Services, Child Protection Services, food banks (TANF) and childcare.  

Education - $250 million

  • Unlike the Executive/House/Senate budget plans, no school districts would receive a cut to foundation funding.
  • Invest in our future by increasing pre-school spending, increase career tech funding and restore recent Tangible Personal Property Tax (TPP) cuts.

Higher Education - $200 million

  • Increase funding for state share of instruction (“SSI”) and Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG)
  • Increase funding for short-term employment certificates to help put more Ohioans to work.
  • Restore funding for SNAP Employment and Training Program.

Local Government - $350 million

  • Local Government Fund (LGF) and Public Library Fund (PLF) increase by $74 million through suspension of tax deduction.
  • Increase funding for regional transit systems and for Boards of Elections to purchase voting machines.
  • Provide over $200 million to address MCO phase out.

Members of the Senate Democratic Caucus released the following statements after the announcement of their budget plan:

Senator Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood), Ranking Member on the Senate Finance Committee:

“We believe that every single Ohioan deserves a fair shot. The Republicans' tax structure has put Ohio’s working class families at a disadvantage. They have introduced a tax scheme that allows lawyers, accountants, business owners, and investors to avoid paying state taxes, while the secretaries, janitors, and service employees still pay their fair share of state income tax.

"We have created a tax plan that benefits all Ohioans. It begins with the suspension of the business investor tax break, which has failed to create jobs.”

Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus), Assistant Senate Minority Leader:

“In these uncertain times with the attacks on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Ohio Republicans are further destabilizing our healthcare system by instituting cuts to Medicaid. This is providing uncertainty for healthcare providers, insurers and most importantly patients. Our plan would give $200 million to Medicaid and critical programs such as food banks and Adult & Child Protective Services. We would also limit or remove harmful insurance barriers – such as work requirements and funding obstacles.

"Without a healthy workforce, Ohio cannot thrive and our residents will not be ready to learn and be ready to earn. We have the ability to improve the health of our citizens by ending this failing tax giveaway. Why wouldn't we choose that option?”

Senator Edna Brown (D-Toledo), Senate Minority Whip:

“Ohio’s local governments are drastically underfunded, which forces them to place levies on the ballot to fund vital services like fire and police. Under our plan, Ohio would restore local government funding and once again trust our communities to spend their own money. 

"Our cities and towns simply cannot afford the cuts the Republican plan has proposed. We are presenting a far better option.”

Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati), Assistant Senate Minority Whip:

“The budget that the Republicans have proposed would cut funding to education. Of all the places to cut, why would we choose our schools? Our children are the future. They need a quality education and a fair shot at successful careers.

"With our plan, our children and schools would see more of the funding they need. Our plan would increase funding to both K-12 education and higher education. The budget must prioritize our youngest citizens.”

  

The Senate Democrats' full press conference can be viewed here.

 
 
 
  
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