COLUMBUS — State Senator Larry Obhof today announced the Ohio Senate has approved House Bill 59, the state’s biennial budget. 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 budget includes a targeted tax cut for small businesses and makes the largest investment in public education in the last decade.
The centerpiece of the Senate’s version of the budget is the small business tax cut, which aims to encourage job growth by enabling business owners to invest further in their operations and payroll. The Senate’s plan also increases state aid for K-12 education by $717 million over the biennium – the largest such investment in the last decade. The Senate also increased support for the newly created “Straight A Fund,” which provides grants to schools for measures that promote innovation and efficiency. The Senate’s plan makes significant investments in early childhood education and funds support services that will help ensure that all children can read by the third grade.
“Two years ago, we were looking at a multi-billion dollar shortfall. Today, we are making significant investments in education and workforce development,” Obhof said. “Our efforts to increase government efficiency are showing results, and Ohio’s economy has improved significantly over the past few years. This budget will encourage job creation and ensure that students from kindergarten through college have the resources they need to succeed.”
Members also increased funding for children’s crisis care facilities, for law enforcement efforts to fight human trafficking and drug trafficking, and for the Clean Ohio Program, which provides for the preservation of greenspaces and rehabilitation of former industrial sites.
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.