Ohio Statehouse

During the past decade, Ohio’s income tax has been cut several times. And it looks like it might be cut again as the Republican led legislature considers the state budget. But some lawmakers are questioning the value of those cuts.

Republican Finance Committee Chair Ryan Smith says it is important to cut income taxes, especially for small businesses. They would get another tax break under the house’s proposed budget.

traffic camera red light camera
Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr/Creative Commons

Communities that still have red light cameras in operation right now are questioning part of the budget plan proposed by the Ohio House. There’s disagreement over a part of the bill designed to take away revenue that’s generated through those cameras.

Some cities are continuing to operate red light cameras while they sue over a new state law that restricts the usage of those devices. State Rep. Ron Maag says there’s a part of the newly proposed House budget that deals with those communities.

Flickr Creative Commons User Thoth188

After two months, Republicans who lead the Ohio House will unveil their version of Gov. John Kasich’s two year budget this week. 

The House version of the $72 billion budget is likely to include a tax cut, but it may not be the 23 percent across the board cut that Kasich had proposed. House leaders have not embraced the governor’s ideas to pay for tax cuts with increases in other taxes, such as those on cigarettes and oil and gas drillers, and the hike in the state sales tax and the commercial activity tax or CAT.

Commission Will Consider Expanding Term Limits For State Lawmakers

Apr 10, 2015

A commission of leaders in both the public and private sector will debate the next step toward recommending a term limits extension for state lawmakers, who now can serve eight years in one office.

The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission—which sends recommendations on changing the Constitution to the General Assembly—is now considering two proposals to extend those term limits to 12 years. One includes current lawmakers and the other only applies to newly-elected officials.

A new bill has been introduced in the state legislature that would allow Ohioans to carry concealed guns without required training or a permit. But the bill is being met with resistance.

Jim Irvine, with the Buckeye Firearms Association, says the state should do what some others have done: scrap the permit requirement for handguns.

casino, gambling
Adam Tinworth

Some state lawmakers say casino revenue hasn’t been as high as originally promised a few years ago when Ohio voters approved those casinos. So the lawmakers say they will introduce a bill that would rein in a tax break those casinos have been receiving.

Republican State Senator Bill Coley has a message for casino owners who he says have broken promises made to voters.

Lawmakers Consider Timing For Term Limit Ballot Question

Mar 18, 2015

Ohioans could have the chance to vote on a measure that allows them to keep state lawmakers in office longer. The idea of extending term limits has its supporters, but there’s still a debate over when it should head to the ballot.

Some fear the term limit issue could drag down another issue already set for this fall’s ballot—redistricting reform. However others, such as Republican Senator Frank LaRose of the Akron area, believe the two issues could appear like both sides of the same coin.

The Ohio Senate has inserted language into a state transportation bill that would limit what cities can do to ensure contractors on their projects hire local residents. The Senate language would forbid any state or federal funds from going to public projects with local hiring goals.

It’s similar to language that was stripped from the House version of the bill last month after Akron officials traveled to Columbus to protest.

Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic calls state officials hypocrites.

User: eJourna / flickr

Ohio lawmakers are currently considering a measure that would fast track fracking on public lands. But there’s debate over whether it would allow drilling activity in state parks.

The bill would allow drillers who are working on private property that’s separated by state lands to drill through those lands. Republican Rep. Al Landis of Dover says the drilling would be thousands of feet underground, because a commission would have to allow drilling on the surface in state parks. 

The state’s tax commissioner took some heat from lawmakers looking over the budget. Lawmakers say they’re hearing complaints from some tax refund filers who are being required to take an identity quiz. 

During questioning before the House Finance Committee, tax commissioner Joe Testa says the state spent $6 million to stop thousands of fake income tax refund requests filed in many states by people who are stealing massive amounts of social security numbers. 

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