COLUMBUS — State Senator John Eklund today announced the Ohio Senate approved a state budget that includes a $1.4 billion tax cut for small businesses and makes the largest investment in public education in the last decade. The two-year, $61.8 billion budget also provides funding for state agencies and departments, as well as health and human services for Ohioans in need.
The centerpiece of the Senate’s version of the budget is the small business tax cut, which establishes a 50 percent tax break on the first $750,000 of net income. Small businesses employ roughly half of Ohio’s private-sector workforce and make up nearly 98 percent of all businesses in the state. This change aims to encourage job growth by enabling business owners to invest in their operations and payroll.
“We’ve made significant strides in the past two years in growing our economy and improving our education system, and this budget furthers those efforts,” Eklund said. “By keeping our business environment competitive and ensuring that students have the resources to succeed both in the classroom and in the workforce, we continue to make Ohio an attractive destination for job creators and families.”
The Senate’s plan also increases state aid for K-12 education in Ohio by $717 million over the biennium – the largest such investment in the last decade - and added $100 million for the newly created “Straight A Fund,” which provides grants to promote innovation and efficiency.
Senator Eklund sponsored provisions to allocate $1.23 million to the Chardon Schools and Geauga County ADAMHS Board for community recovery from the February 2012 shootings, and $100,000 to close the funding gap for the Chardon Heritage House project.
Additional provisions Senator Eklund sponsored will relieve Regional Transit Authorities of onerous duplicative background check procedures for hirees and will enable the City of Ravenna to proceed with forming a Community Entertainment District and obtain a special liquor permit.
“These provisions are about providing resources to communities in need, streamlining government, helping to promote economic development, and revitalizing our cities” Eklund stated.
The differences between the Senate- and House-passed versions of the budget will be addressed in a conference committee. Ohio is required to have a balanced budget, and by law it must be signed by July 1 – the start of the new fiscal year.