Uecker Praises Senate Proposal that Invests in Education, Defends Rights, and Cuts Taxes by $1.75 Billion
State Senator Joe Uecker (R-Miami Township) today announced the Senate’s passage of the state’s two-year budget proposal with a 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.
“I’m proud of the legislature’s continued commitment to workforce investment and tax relief for southwest Ohio,” Uecker said.
The Senate budget includes a number of amendments submitted by Senator Uecker, which:
- Helps Pregnant Women: Provides funding for Ohio’s pregnancy centers to support counseling, adoption services, and life skills programs.
- Simplifies Rules for Specialty Plates: Ensures that Ohio citizens can obtain license plates supporting important causes without being burdened by government red tape.
- Fights Addiction Epidemic: Directs the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections to study the feasibility of a substance abuse recovery prison to guarantee that all addition resources are explored to better the citizens of Ohio.
"I also helped protect our 18 to 20-year-old active duty military members, home on leave, by championing an amendment that allows them to obtain a CCW permit,” added Uecker.
Among the major highlights in the bill, the Senate plan:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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/.