As tax season is upon us, I wanted to take a moment to share how the General Assembly has worked to help ease the tax burden for Ohio families. We believe it is your money first, not the government's, and because of that we have worked hard to return dollars to you wherever possible.
With your help, I've fought to make government more efficient and return money back into the pockets of hardworking Ohioans by eliminating the bottom two income tax brackets, providing income tax cuts of nearly $700 million, a 4% across-the-board tax cut for all.
Additionally, the Senate increased the Ohio Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from 10% to 30%. We also removed the income cap that prevents some Ohioans from accessing the EITC. This is the second consecutive operating budget in which we have eliminated income tax brackets, resulting in Ohioans making $21,750 or less paying zero state income taxes.
We've worked to reduce barriers to small business growth through the restoration of the Business Income Deduction (BID), provided an income-tax deduction of up to $250 for teachers to pay for professional development and supplies for their classrooms and exempted feminine hygiene products from the state sales tax.
This week the Governor signed House Bill 18, which will exempt Ohio's veterans who receive disability severance pay from being taxed on that income. I was proud to co-sponsor this legislation, as it is the least we can do for the heroes who have given so much for our country.
One of the bills I’ve sponsored this General Assembly is Senate Bill 139, which enacts the “First-Time Home Buyer Savings Act." This bill would allow people seeking to buy their first home to create a tax-deductible savings account dedicated specifically towards the purchase of a new home, making it easier for Ohioans to save for a down payment.
I’ve also co-sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 3 to require approval from two-thirds of the members of the Ohio House and Senate before Ohio’s income tax rates could be raised. It should be extremely difficult to raise income taxes in Ohio because if we experience a budget shortfall we should be looking to cut spending, not reaching into your pockets for more money.
I am always looking for ways to lessen the tax burden for Ohioans so that we can make Ohio the best place to live, work, and raise a family. If you have questions, or if you have any ideas that you would like to share, you can reach me by phone at (614) 466-8060 or by e-mail at Gavarone@OhioSenate.gov.