Week in Review > Week in Review 06-05-2021Posted by Kevin Miller on June 05th, 2021
The Senate GOP’s version of the FY22-23 budget, HB110 (Oelslager), would reduce income taxes by 5 percent across the board, Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Senate Finance Committee Chair Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) announced Tuesday. Other tax reform provisions in the budget include exempting employment services and placement services from the sales tax, repealing the campaign contribution tax credit starting in tax year 2021 and extending the pandemic-related work-from-home municipal income tax provisions included in 133-HB197 (Powell-Merrin) until Dec. 31, 2021 although individuals can file for a refund in tax years 2021 and 2020.
The Senate also removed both the House’s proposed $190 million Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program and the requirement that licensed child care programs be rated through the Step Up to Quality (SUTQ) program in order to provide publicly-funded child care, with Huffman noting the requirements have “caused substantial damage to the child care infrastructure.” However, the Senate’s budget would make it easier to qualify for publicly-funded child care by increasing the limit to 142 percent of the federal poverty level instead of the current level of 130 percent or the House-proposed 138 percent level.
Other significant provisions in the Senate GOP’s version of HB110 include the following:
Senate Republicans said their school funding plan will use teacher salaries as the basis for calculations and will add more than $220 million on top of the House plan. The Senate plan maintains the House version’s direct funding provisions for students in choice programs, and introduces a “gap aid” component for districts having trouble raising local funding, caucus leaders said.
Included with the direct funding for charter, STEM school and scholarship program students are per-student increases in EdChoice funding, to $5,500 for K-8 students and $7,500 for high school students.
The substitute bill also would eliminate the cap on EdChoice scholarships of 60,000 and expand eligibility for the performance-based EdChoice program to include several new criteria, opening the program to students placed as foster children or with guardians/legal custodians, or those who share a household with such students, and students who previously received the Peterson or autism scholarships but no longer need the special education services.
The substitute bill would remove restrictions that prevent start-up charter schools from opening outside of “challenged” school districts. And it restores the funding pool for charter schools meeting certain quality criteria to $54 million per year as proposed by the governor; the House proposed $30 million. In addition, per-student facilities funding for brick-and-mortar charter and STEM schools would increase from $250 to $750.
The Senate’s version of the budget shortchanges schools, child care providers and low-income families, according to members of the Ohio Children’s Budget Coalition. Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio Executive Director Tracy Najera, Ohio Education Association (OEA) President Scott DiMauro and Pre4Cle Executive Director Katie Kelly held a press conference on Thursday to denounce many provisions in the substitute version of HB110 (Oelslager), which was accepted in the Senate Finance Committee earlier this week.
As the Senate proceeds with its own school funding proposal as part of the proposed FY22-23 state budget, the “All In For Ohio Kids” coalition has launched a data tool documenting how what it terms the “four failures” of the state’s current, funding system harms students in each Ohio school district, reinforcing the need for lawmakers to pass the Fair School Funding Plan in the current state budget. That plan is a part of the House version of the state budget, HB110 (Oelslager). The website can be found at https://www.allinforohiokids.com.
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