COLUMBUS, Ohio—The Biennium Budget sailed through the Senate 29-1, and through the House 75-15.
- Includes 4 percent income tax cut, with a 100 percent tax cut for the bottom two brackets
- Doesn’t include a solution for school district takeovers or funding for PTSD in first responders
- Includes funding for H2Ohio and health care provisions
In this budget is an across the board 4 percent income tax cut for everyone, with a 100% tax cut for the bottom two brackets.
That means if you make less than $22,000 a year, you won’t spend a dime on income tax.
But not every item in this bill was celebrated.
“The piece that was taken out pertained to PTSD,” said Sen. Tina Maharath (D-Canal Winchester).
For Maharath, who suffers from PTSD, the decision to omit funding for Post-traumatic stress disorder in first responders was a major fumble.
Other Democrats agreed.
“They see their colleagues get hurt, they see their colleagues get shot, they see their colleagues get burned, they see their colleagues die. PTSD is real,” said Sen. Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights).
But Senator Matt Huffman (R-Lima) rebuked the criticism, asking why those raising issue didn’t do so before the vote.
“What I’m disappointed about are those who think this issue is important, who wasted 6 months doing nothing about it, then put a bad version of this in a budget where it shouldn’t belong,” said Huffman.
Both sides came to a compromise to take up the issue of funding for PTSD in a separate bill.
Another contentious issue—dollars allocated for women’s health.
Senator Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) proposed a program that would help lower infant and maternal mortality.
“In a $69 billion budget, $2.5 million isn’t a lot of money, but comparatively, there’s still a lot of good that money could have done,” said Antonio.
Instead, that $2.5 million was redirected to so-called pregnancy crisis centers, which dissuade women from having abortions.
That extra boost spelled out a $7.5 million handout for the centers.
But both sides conceded, the good outweighed the bad in this budget, including funding for Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio program, as well as numerous health care provisions.
The budget now heads to DeWine’s desk for approval.
He still wields the power of line-item vetoes, which he said he will likely use.
He has until midnight to sign this Biennium Budget into law.