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Senate Passes Historic Budget Providing $3.1 Billion in Tax Relief and Education Accountability for Ohioans

June 15, 2023
Matt Huffman News

COLUMBUS—Today the Ohio Senate passed the final version of the Senate’s $85.8 billion budget plan, adding an additional $600 million of tax relief to the initial $2.5 billion rollout, helping both Ohio taxpayers and small businesses.

“This plan puts $3.1 billion back in the hands of families and small businesses,” said Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima). "We should always remember that moms and dads go to work to feed their family, and their priority should never be to feed the government.”

Moving towards a fair and simplified flat tax approach, the Senate budget reduces the number of tax brackets to only two over the biennium.

The marginal rates will be 2.75% over $26,050 and 3.5% over $92,150. Ohioans making $26,050 or less pay no income taxes.

Taxpayers will also enjoy an extended sales tax holiday that will run two weeks.

The Senate’s budget provides significant tax relief to businesses by implementing considerable reforms to the Commercial Activity Tax. Businesses will pay no taxes on the first $3 million of gross receipts in tax year 2024, and will pay no taxes on the first $6 million of gross receipts in tax year 2025.

"This important and meaningful tax relief positively impacts every taxpayer in Ohio,” said Finance Chairman, Senator Matt Dolan, (R-Chagrin Falls).

 Historic Funding Increase for K-12 Education

The Senate’s budget plan includes historic funding and policy improvements to K-12 funding that is focused on accountability and options for parents.
The Senate school funding plan maintains the updated 2022 salary and spending criteria used for determining the base cost, and then adds an additional $1.3 billion to school funding. Total foundation funding for students in public schools under the Senate plan is a record $9.3 billion in FY24 & almost $9.6 billion FY25. Watch Senator Dolan and President Huffman highlight the Senate’s Education Policy.

 Parents’ Education Choices Matter

Flexibility and options are key for today’s families and students. Parents should have an option.
The Senate’s budget makes Ed Choice Scholarships universally available to every Ohio student based on a sliding scale of income eligibility. 
Families earning 450% of the federal poverty level ($135,000 for a family of four) will qualify for a full scholarship award: $6,165 for K-8 students and $8,407 for high school students. Scholarships for students in families with incomes above 450% will be means-tested with scholarship amounts adjusted based on their income. Every student in Ohio will be eligible for a scholarship worth at least 10% of the maximum scholarship regardless of income.
“Parents know that where their children attend school makes a difference,” said President Huffman. “Children should never dread going to class, and parents should always have confidence that their children are walking into a positive, results-focused learning environment.” 
 Department of Education Accountability
The Senate’s budget plan includes historic reforms to the Department of Education and to the duties of the State School Board. The plan restructures the Department of Education into the Department of Education and Workforce, which will fall under the authority of the Executive Branch of government.

This structural change provides significant and much needed accountability over the department regarding education policy development and implementation that will greatly improve its operations.

Protecting Free Speech and Diversity of Thought from the Campus to the Classroom

The Senate’s budget plan includes vital policy changes to make sure our public universities are truly campuses and classrooms that welcome freedom of speech and diversity of thought.
The higher education reforms passed as part of SB 83, sponsored by Senator Jerry Cirino (R-Kirtland), as well as SB 117 sponsored by both Senator Cirino and SenatorRob McColley (R-Napoleon), provide a much-needed course correction for campus environments that have become increasingly polarized.
“These two new centers, at Ohio State University and the University of Toledo College of Law, will focus on the United States Constitution and the legal profession to make sure law students are prepared for their legal careers. Students, especially law students, should feel free to have thoughtful and open debate on our founding documents and their historic role in our country,” said Senator McColley.
“This is really about preserving and protecting the mission of our public universities,” said Senator Cirino. “Students and faculty should never be intimidated or fearful of reprisal or alienation from a campus or a classroom.”

 Additional Funding for Critical Programs and Accountability Improvements

  • Provides an additional $25M to support pediatric behavioral health workforce development and infrastructure bringing the total allocation in the bill to $50M (ARPA).
  • Provides an additional $10M each FY for the Continuum of Care Services line for ADAMH boards in the Department of Mental Health (Restoring to As-Introduced levels). Also increases the Criminal Justice Services line in Mental Health by $9M in FY24 for one-time expenses.
  • Preserves a $1.0 Billion One-Time Strategic Community Investments Fund to be set aside during this budget and used in FY25 once all Ohioans, local officials, community leaders, State Representatives, State Senators, and others have time to advance requests to benefit their communities and all of Ohio.
  • Clarifies that websites hosting video content are subject to the parental consent requirements in the bill.
  • Modifies Ohio College Opportunity Grant award amounts contained in the sub bill to provide additional increases in FY24 and further increases the EFC in both FYs to $3,750.
  • Provides $1.25M (GRF) each FY for the Appalachian Children Coalition. Funding will be used for training, hiring, and retention of entry-level child mental and behavioral health workers in school and health provider settings.
  • Appropriates $300K (GRF) per FY for the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.
  • Prohibits state employees from working remotely more than eight hours a week other than as an accommodation under the ADA or other Civil Rights laws.
  • Increases the category amounts and raises the statutory cap for the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship in FY25, adding $9M (GRF) for this purpose.
  • Provides $1M over the biennium to expand eligibility for the Program for Medically Disabled Children (renamed the Program for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs in the bill) by extending the age limit by one year each year in 2023 and 2024.
  • Provides $2.3M (TANF) funds in FY24 only for the Open Doors Academy to support out-of-school programs.
  • Requires school districts and community schools to provide academic intervention services to students who score “limited” on state assessments in math, science, or English.

The budget now moves to the Ohio House, and must be balanced and signed into law by June 30th.