On Monday evening, the Ohio legislature passed House Bill 110 with bipartisan support. The bill makes appropriations for the state fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2021 and ending on June 30, 2023. The two-year, $74 billion state budget includes provisions to support tax relief, education reform, infrastructure reformation, broadband coverage, and other initiatives.
House Bill 110 includes tax reform provisions that benefit all Ohioans. According to the Legislative Service Commission, Ohioans with income between $25,000 and $110,650 will see a 3% reduction in their state income tax rate. The bill will also eliminate the state’s top tax bracket (those over $221,300), thereby reducing the number of tax brackets in Ohio from five to four. The set rate for the new top bracket (those over $110,650) will be 3.99%, thus lowering the tax rate considerably for Ohio’s highest-income earners. The tax reform provisions further eliminate income tax for any individual who makes less than $25,000 a year. Previously, this number was $22,150.
The education reform package in House Bill 110 includes the enactment of the Fair School Funding Plan. The funding plan, which has been in the development stage for more than three years, creates a major overhaul in how Ohio funds its schools. The Fair School Funding Plan promotes a system designed to boost school funding in a fair and equitable way. Specifically, the plan intends to use a new funding formula, which will consider both property values and income wealth in determining how much a district should be able to cover on its own. Further, the base amount to educate the average kid will now be based on local costs, instead of a single, statewide average. The bill provides a $226 million funding increase for K-12 education in 2022 and a $141 million funding increase for K-12 education in 2023.
Infrastructure Reformation and Broadband Coverage
House Bill 110 will allocate $350 million to help Ohio communities clean up abandoned industrial and commercial sites across the state that are currently too contaminated to be redeveloped (i.e., brownfield sites). In addition, the bill will provide $150 million towards the demolition of blighted or nuisance buildings through the Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Fund. The final budget also includes a provision helping to grow broadband internet access in low-service areas. Specifically, the bill allocates $250 million dollars to expand broadband networks in underserved areas.
House Bill 110 includes several provisions that will benefit law enforcement, firefighters, and the public. The bill allocates $15 million for law enforcement training, $10 million for police body cameras, as well as grants for crime reduction initiatives and school safety programs. Eligibility for publicly funded childcare, through Ohio’s Step Up to Quality system, will increase, and allow admission for those who fall within 142% of the federal poverty level.
The bill includes language which will prevent Ohio workers from suing their employers under Ohio Civil Rights Law, when the employer takes an adverse employment action against a person who uses medical marijuana in contravention of a drug-free workplace policy. The budget bill also includes abortion restrictions. Specifically, the bill requires ambulatory surgical facilities to be within 25 miles of the hospital with which they have admitting agreements.
House Bill 110 now travels to Mike DeWine, who must sign the bill by Wednesday, June 30 in order for it to become law.