Lawmakers Reach Budget Deal, Plan Heads To House And Senate For Vote

Jul 16, 2019

After 17 days of overtime budget negotiations, lawmakers in the Ohio House and Senate have reached a $69 billion two-year spending deal.

The plan was revealed Tuesday evening to a packed committee room, with advocates, lobbyists, and legislative staff waiting to hear the final agreement.

One of the biggest fights between the House and Senate boiled down to the small business income tax deduction. The plan keeps the $1.2 billion income tax cut for small businesses and pass-through entities, which is what the Senate wanted.

The House originally proposed bringing that income tax deduction down from the first $250,000 earned, to the first $100,000 earned. The budget deal also keeps the income tax rate at 3% after that.

The only change made to the small business income tax deduction is that lawyers and lobbyists are excluded.

Here are some other agreements made in the budget deal:

  • The Motion Picture Tax Credit will stay in place at no more than $40 million a year, however, recipients must be registered as Ohio businesses.
  • It requires the Ohio Department of Medicaid to create a single, statewide pharmacy benefit manager to negotiate prescription drug benefits.
  • A moratorium will be placed on new academic distress commissions which are created to take over failing school districts. The plan retains the current academic distress commissions in Youngstown, Lorain, and East Cleveland.
  • “Crisis pregnancy centers” will receive $7.5 million over a two-year span. Abortion rights advocates say these centers provide false information to their patients.
  • The 2020 Presidential Primary will be held on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, despite concerns raised by Democrats that the festivities could interfere with the election and drive down turnout.

Lawmakers passed a temporary budget deal after they failed to reach a final plan on the original deadline of June 30, at which point the fiscal year ends and a new spending plan is needed.

A full chamber vote is scheduled for the Ohio House and Senate on Wednesday, just hours before the interim budget is set to expire.