With the introduction of Substitute House Bill 153—the state budget bill—in the House Finance and Appropriations Committee, Speaker of the Ohio House William G. Batchelder (R-Medina), Chairman of the Finance Committee Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster), and Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee John Carey (R-Wellston) today unveiled legislation that balances the budget without raising taxes, improves government efficiency and makes Ohio more economically competitive.

“The budget version that was introduced today is the product of hours upon hours of discussion, more than 1,000 amendments from members on both sides of the aisle, and a thorough examination of every area of state government,” Amstutz said. “We considered every option and pursued a route to make state government more effective, reconfiguring the allocation of scarce resources rather than raising taxes. Tax increases would have been a quick answer without a real solution, hurting middle-class and lower-income families the most.”

Maintaining a commitment to Ohio’s job climate and sustainability, the House Republicans have included a provision in Sub. H.B. 153 to eliminate the estate tax in its entirety effective January 1, 2013, which will help protect family farms, as well as attract and retain small businesses, retirees and entrepreneurs.

Sub. H.B. 153 also holds education paramount and uses existing funds to provide in-state college tuition rates for Ohio high school graduates who have left the state within the past 10 years, which would incentivize their return to the state. Moreover, the budget adds an additional $40 million per year to the school foundation formula and guarantees that no district receives a cut in state aid of more than 20 percent.
The budget also safeguards Ohio’s seniors by increasing PASSPORT funding by $15 million over the biennium.

“Through this budget, we are investing in the things that matter most to Ohioans: economic development, education, and services that many within our communities rely on,” said Carey. “It’s no secret that this is a very difficult and perhaps painful budget, but we found a smart, carefully planned balance that addresses our budget crisis without crippling our state.”

Reps. Amstutz and Carey helped to guide the state budget back to fiscal sanity by directly addressing the $8 billion budget deficit that the House Republican Caucus inherited from the previous administration.

In April 2009, then-Auditor of State Mary Taylor warned Ohio’s Democrats that their fiscal policies would create an estimated $8 billion hole in the 2012-13 state budget, which would lead to drastic spending cuts or massive tax increases in two years (Columbus Dispatch, “Auditor predicts $8 billion Ohio budget hole,” 4/16/2009).

“We were handed a financial situation that was in shambles because Ohio’s former leaders simply pretended that this emergency didn’t exist,” said Batchelder. “We’re confronting this issue head-on, examining not only ways to trim wasteful spending but also improve Ohio’s marketability as a whole. People often forget that there is more to a state’s growth and sustainability than just taxes and spending. Our ability to create jobs and keep our businesses here will play a very crucial role over the next several years, and this budget is evidence of that fact.”

The House Republican leaders applauded Governor Kasich for his work to craft this difficult budget that closed the structural deficit in short order without raising taxes. All leaders have pledged to continue working together, in conjunction with the Ohio Senate, in passing a fiscally responsible two-year budget that puts Ohio on a path of fiscal stability.

HB 153 Media Guide


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