(Columbus) – It was a busy week at the statehouse last week, especially on the House side. Wednesday afternoon the House of Representatives passed its version of the two-year operating budget proposal for FY ’22-23 (HB 110) (“Budget Bill”) by a vote of 70-27. And just the day before, the House passed it out of the House Finance committee late Tuesday afternoon. The Budget now moves over to the Senate chamber for further deliberations.
The House members have been very busy the past few months putting this Budget together and putting their stamp on it after receiving the Governor’s proposal back on February 1st.The House added many new projects and funding for several new programs. There are many provisions included in the House Budget, but here are some brief highlights:
K-12 Education – The House version of the Budget Bill includes a major school funding reform initiative -the Fair School Funding Plan (HB1), which has a six-year phase in, starting with the 2021-2022 school year. It also appropriates $500,000 each year for dyslexia, College Credit Plus reforms, requires the Ohio Department of Education (“ODE”) to make recommendations for gifted education incentive programs, and requires a school district to spend funding for gifted education on gifted students and gifted programs approved by ODE, earmarks funding for abstinence education, expands eligibility for the Adult Diploma Program, and includes $2 million for telehealth services to support providing behavioral health in schools.
Tax Relief – The House did incorporate some tax relief for Ohioans. The Budget Bill now includes a 2 percent across the board personal income tax rate cut, which will reduce taxes and withholding amounts by approximately $380 million over the 2-year biennium. Also added are some venture capital income tax deductions. (* Please note: A SALT Buzz with more detailed tax provisions will be completed and distributed from ZHF LLC very soon, so stay tuned for that.)
Supporting Jobs and our Economy – Changes added by the House are targeted investments to support Ohio jobs, businesses and the economy, including:
Expanding procurement laws to give more preference to Ohio businesses;
Providing $3.6 million to support economic development programs and job creation efforts at Ohio’s military facilities;
Creating a Workforce Development Study Committee on to study career pathways and workforce training initiatives;
Increases funding for Rural Industrial Park Loan Program to a total of $18 million to support rural job creation efforts;
Provides $500,000 in grants for Main Street Job Recovery Program for non-profit organizations to create business development and employment opportunities for low and moderate income individuals and individuals of the re-entry population; and
Adds $14 million each fiscal year for Appalachian Assistance and workforce development.
Safety and Security – The Budget Bill adds a variety of programs to increase safety and security for Ohioans, including the following:
$8.5 million in security grants for non-profit groups, churches, chartered non-public schools and licensed preschools;
$26 million for anti-narcotic initiative;
$15 million for law enforcement training and to create a study commission;
$10 million for grants for small fire departments for equipment and training;
$24 million for school safety grants;
$10 million in grants for body cameras for state and local police;
$1.5 million to support the Ohio Cyber Reserve; and
$1 million for the Attorney General’s office in their efforts for protecting children.
Government Oversight and Accountability – The House-passed Budget Bill creates the Joint Legislative Oversight and Review Committee of Federal COVID Relief Aid. The purpose of this committee is to oversee the spending of COVID dollars in Ohio, and will have more agency spending initiatives go before the State Controlling Board.
COVID-19 Relief Funding to help businesses impacted by the pandemic – Provisions set aside $155 million for restaurants and bars, the lodging industry, entertainment venues and for new businesses.
Higher Education and Workforce funding increases – College assessments are not required next school year and participation will be voluntary after that. The Budget Bill also provides:
$2.5 million for a CDL training program;
Restores the state share of instruction single line item for SSI formula payments for all higher ed colleges and universities;
Expands eligibility to participate in the Ohio National Guard scholarship program;
$800,000 for the Rural University Program;
Provides over $3 million to strengthen linkages between Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Ohio’s institutions of higher education to support workforce development in the aerospace industry;
Grants in-state tuition residency for out-of-state students attending a graduate program in Ohio if the student completed a bachelor’s degree from an Ohio higher education institution; and
Contains a variety of other campus-specific initiatives and programs.
Health and Human Services – A number of appropriations target higher spending for various health and human services, including:
Increased support for home and community-based service providers including assisted living, homecare and PASSPORT;
Provides funding for adult day care programs;
Provides $5 million for kinship guardianship support;
Creates a Universal Nursing Home Quality Commission;
Reverts nursing home rates in statute as opposed to rules;
Maintains 138 percent of the federal poverty level of publicly-funded childcare;
Includes $40 million for Foodbanks Assistance; and
Allocates $5 million dollars for a program in helping children in need by placing them with family members instead of foster care and by using some new search technology.
As you can see, there are a lot of good programs in the House-passed Biennial Budget. Now that the Biennial Budget has been passed by the House, it now moves over to the Senate for even more discussions and changes before likely being sent to a Conference Committee of both houses. There is still much more work to be done and the Budget Bill must be completed and signed into law by Governor DeWine no later than June 30th.
Please contact Rich Bitonte or any other ZHF Consulting professional if you have any questions, if you would like some more details, or if we can be of any assistance throughout the remaining budget process.