Ohio House Republicans introduce their two-year budget, which adds some things and drops others
Ohio House Republicans have introduced their version of Gov. Mike DeWine’s budget, adding in an income tax cut, expanding taxpayer paid school vouchers to higher incomes, and dropping a plan to require social media companies get verified parental consent before kids sign up.
A committee vote on the $86 billion two-year spending plan is likely Wednesday.
House Finance chair Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) said it’ll cost just under a billion dollars to eliminate income taxes for salaries under $26,050 and to lower the tax rate for those making under around $92,150 a year to 2.75%.
Edwards said it's a "middle income tax cut", and those brackets were deliberately selected.
"I think if you do anything with the top brackets are trying to collapse or bring down, you're helping the wealthier Ohioans. And there's no doubt about it. And I'm not against that," Edwards said. "But I think in the times we've had right now, in the times that we're just coming out of a COVID, I think, you know, our focus in this caucus and I think you'll talk to even some more conservative members, our focus is on middle class Ohioans trying to do more for middle class Ohioans.
The EdChoice voucher program would be expanded to 450% of the federal poverty level – around $120,000 for a family of four – up from 250% now.
The elimination of taxes on baby products was dropped, but there are bills in both the House and the Senate that would cut those state taxes.
A parental consent requirement for social media use by kids was in DeWine's initial budget and was touted by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. Edwards said that's because it put action against social media companies in the hands of the attorney general's office.
"I'm not a huge fan of of saying if my child's data is stolen or something happens, that I have to rely upon the state's attorney general to figure that out. And it's nothing against the state's attorney general right now or five years now or ten years from now," Edwards said. "My problem is if something happens, I should have a right to go do something. In my opinion, and I think we have a lot of members of this and what."
The verified parental consent requirement is likely to return with a private right of action - which means individuals could take action rather than turning cases over to the AG. Arkansas has passed a similar law, and Utah is considering it.