Cross Champions a Strong Ohio Budget

Written by on June 29, 2021

COLUMBUS – State Rep. Jon Cross (R-Kenton) today applauded the new state budget plan approved by lawmakers that provides tax relief, invests in economic and workforce development, and implements policies to strengthen Ohio’s economy.

“Under this budget plan, we’re making Ohio more competitive to keep the jobs we have and attract new jobs by investing in higher education and enacting smart, pro-business policies,” said Cross. “I look forward to seeing the positive outcomes from these investments in our community and across the state.”

The bill includes a three percent across the board personal income tax cut. The tax reform plan reduces the number of tax brackets from five to four, and eliminates the income tax for anyone making less than $25,000 per year. Overall, these and other tax changes in the budget reduce taxes $2 billion over the biennium.

Cross announced local wins for the 83rd District:

.$4 million for the Hardin County Water Quality Pilot Program at Shallow Run

.Increased funding by $2 million for the Owens Community College, University of Findlay, BGSU Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics at the Owens Community College Findlay Campus

In an effort to encourage investment in Ohio while incentivizing long-term employment in the state, Cross successfully pushed for provision that authorizes an income tax deduction for all or a portion of capital gains received by investors in Ohio-based “venture capital operating companies.”

Cross, who chaired the House Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education Committee, highlighted the following investments in higher education and workforce development:

.$220 million for the Ohio College Opportunity Grant, the state’s largest needs-based financial aid program for higher education

.$19 million increase each fiscal year for the State Share of Instruction, supporting Ohio’s public colleges and universities

.$5 million for the Commercial Truck Driver Student Aid Program to address to nation’s driver shortage

Among other highlights in the robust education reform package is the Fair School Funding Plan, which is the result of more than three years of work by educators and policymakers. This historic collaboration has produced a comprehensive funding formula that is rational, predictable and sustainable.

The budget also makes an historic commitment to expanding broadband in Ohio by committing $250 million to support grants under the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program and the Ohio Broadband Expansion Program Authority. The plan, which previously passed the House in House Bill 2, targets the problem of last mile connectivity to households where it remains cost-prohibitive for private providers to otherwise extend their service.

To help Ohio retain and attract jobs, the legislation contains several investments and reforms. This includes the creation of the “mega projects” program, which will increase Ohio’s competiveness in trying to attract large economic development projects. Under the bill, a “mega project” is one with a payroll of more than 300 percent of federal poverty that will have either more than $1 billion on capital investment or more than $75 million in annual payroll. These “mega projects” would be eligible for the existing Job Creation Tax Credit program.

The budget bill also makes significant investments in long term care including rate increases for home and community based care in addition to $490 million in nursing home quality incentive dollars. These dollars will help ensure that elderly Ohioans are able to receive quality care throughout the state.

Other key measures include:

.Expanding procurement law to give preference to American and Ohio products

.Creating a legislative committee to study career pathways and workforce training and develop recommendations on the state’s workforce priorities, initiatives, and funding

.Establishing a committee to study the Step Up to Quality program to improve efficiencies and long-term funding strategies

.Expanding eligibility for public-funded childcare to assist low-income families

.$58 million over the biennium to TechCred and Individual Microcredential Assistance Program (IMAP) to upskill Ohio workers

.$170 million over the biennium for the H2Ohio initiative

.$15 million for a one-year police training pilot program to assist law enforcement agencies with training costs

.$10 million for law enforcement agencies to implement or enhance body-worn camera programs

.$13 million for grants to small fire departments for equipment and training, as well as grants to enhance local emergency communication networks

.$10 million for police body cameras and grant funding for rape kits, crime reduction and school safety

.$3 million for the Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS) fee offset to support law enforcement and first responders

.$5 million to support several veterans organizations

“I came to Columbus to help make Ohio safer, stronger and open for business,” said Cross during his speech on the House floor. “This budget before the General Assembly does just that.”

The new two-year state budget now heads to Governor DeWine for his signature.

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