COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State income taxes for low and moderate earners in Ohio would be eliminated or reduced under the latest version of the state budget unveiled by House Republicans on Thursday.
The proposal before the state's House Finance Committee eliminates personal income tax for those earning less than $22,500 a year. The bill would cut the tax by 4.7% for those earning between $22,500 and $88,800, for tax savings of about $300 million.
Many Ohioans are struggling, said House Speaker Larry Householder, a Republican from Perry County in southeastern Ohio.
"One of our top priorities in this budget has been to empower all Ohioans, regardless of their ZIP code or circumstances," Householder said.
The plan also lowers a business income deduction for LLCs and other entities from the first $250,000 in income to the first $100,000, eliminates tax credits for the motion picture industry or for making a political contribution, and directs ride-sharing companies such as Lyft and Uber to collect and remit sales taxes.
The House bill also adds $125 million on top of Gov. Mike DeWine's own education proposal in the two-year budget, although an overall school-funding plan is also being debated separately.
A full House vote could come next week following committee approval. The bill would go next to the Senate. The budget must be approved by the end of June.
Minority Democrats in the House expressed support for the tax changes, saying they incorporated ideas brought forward by members of their party.
"Walking back a tax system rigged against working people will help our state better live within our means and let working families have a better chance to get ahead," said Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes, the top House Democrat who represents Akron.
Other among House GOP proposals, the $69 billion two-year budget would:
- Require public universities to guarantee students the same tuition rate from their freshman through senior years.
- Fund DeWine's proposed water quality initiative at requested levels of $85 million over two years. Householder said lawmakers are also looking at longer-term solutions for preserving water quality.
- Provide $60 million in additional dollars for children services in Ohio over two years. Agencies have struggled in recent years with record numbers of child custody cases driven in part by Ohio's opioid crisis.
- Boost spending for Ohio technical colleges, which provide postsecondary career and technical education at 54 sites across the state. The increase from $16 million to $23 million is the biggest since 2003.
- Raise the age to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21 years.