Ohio House Passes Biggest Budget in State History

The Ohio House of Representatives passed a record-breaking two-year budget for the state April 22.

The Ohio House of Representatives passed a record-breaking two-year budget for the state April 22. 

The $131.6 billion proposed budget spends more than the state ever has, while taxing top-tier earners less than it has in the past three decades. The proposal would put Ohio’s top income tax rate below 5 percent for earners making over $200,000 for the first time since 1982. 

The spending plan looks much different than the one Gov. John Kasich suggested, forgoing Kasich’s more regressive plan to lower income taxes by 23 percent and use a sales tax hike to pay for the cuts. That plan would have resulted in more than $500 million less in income tax revenue for the state. Instead, the House budget cuts income taxes by 6.3 percent. 

The spending package also zeroes out much of Kasich’s proposed reform to education spending. Under Kasich’s plan, which sought to even out funding disparities in low-income schools, a tweak to the state funding formula would have given about half of Ohio’s public schools an increase in state funds, while the other half would have seen reductions. Lawmakers in the state House have adjusted that formula, refunding most of the reductions proposed for wealthier districts. The House budget would spend about $280 million more on education than Kasich’s proposal.

Democrats in the House attempted to tuck in amendments that would have created tax cuts for lower-and middle-income earners, boost spending to address Ohio’s infant mortality problem — the state is second worst in the country for infant deaths — and promote equal pay for women in the state. The House’s Republican majority voted all those amendments down. 

Kasich has vowed to fight lawmakers on the changes.

“After the fiscal crisis subsides people think it’s OK to slip back to old habits,” Kasich’s office said in a statement to press. “The governor will do everything possible to prevent that from happening.”

The budget next heads to the state Senate, which is drawing up its own proposal.

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