Governor Kasich signing the budget. Behind him (l to r) Sen. Bill Coley (R-Middletown), Sen. Scott Oelslager (R-Canton), Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina), Rep. Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster), Rep. Jeff McClain (R-Upper Sandusky) and OBM Director Tim Keen
Credit Karen Kasler, Ohio Public Radio
After months of discussion and debate and several days of lingering questions, the state has a new two-year, $62 billion budget. The signing came with just hours to go before the new fiscal year.
The budget includes a gradual income tax cut over three years for everyone, a 50 percent income tax cut for small businesses, an increase in the state sales tax along with an expansion to digital downloads and magazine subscriptions, and some property tax changes. Gov. John Kasich said he was pleased with it, though it didn’t include his proposed Medicaid expansion.
The committee working out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the state budget now has updated estimates on tax revenues and Medicaid. Those numbers were higher than estimates, but they came with a caution.
The Office of Budget and Management estimates $709 million more in tax revenues above the original forecast, but budget director Tim Keen says after payments to the federal government for unemployment benefits, transfers to the rainy day fund and other issues are paid, there will only be about $397 million extra to do more tax cuts or spending.
An Ohio legislative committee is scheduled to hear two Medicaid proposals today as lawmakers try to find common ground on changes to the health program.
One bill is aimed at curbing Medicaid costs and making the program more efficient while neither expanding it or cutting beneficiaries. The bipartisan bill's sponsors have described the legislation as a starting point for discussions.