House GOP Budget Press Conference


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You may recall we mentioned the House GOP was holding a press conference on the budget yesterday, and we couldn’t figure out what they could possibly have to report, given the substitute bill wasn’t expected until Thursday and the primary speaker, other than the Finance Chairman, was a rookie appointed member who isn’t even on the Finance Committee.

Through news reports we have learned that no actual news was committed at this press conference. Instead, the GOP set up the strawman that “some have suggested” the state raise taxes as a way to balance the budget but that they would hold firm against any such solution. To prop up their argument, they had the tax department analyze how much it would cost the typical family of four if you wanted to fill the entire $8 billion deficit by raising the income tax, and concluded it would take a whopping 46% increase to do it.

I’m pretty sure no one has ever suggested filling the entire deficit with tax increases, and even then with across-the-board increases in the income tax. Closing tax loopholes, like the one that allows manufacturers to exempt their purchases from the sales tax, would raise nearly $3 billion. Another tactic is extending the sales tax to services, making lobbyists and lawyers pay their fair share. You could also continue to postpone the last year of the income tax cuts, which raises nearly $1 billion. Those types of solutions combined with efficiencies and further cuts are the type of balanced approach that “some” have advocated.

Other non-news from the press conference, included the schedule for rolling out a substitute version of the bill (which we have already reported), and the dates of upcoming hearings (which are on our events calendar and were announced by the committee last week). By the way, if you aren’t on the Finance Committee’s hearing announcement list, email Rep Amstutz’s office (district03@ohr.state.oh.us) and ask to be added.

Here is what we did learn:

  • 1,000 amendments have been submitted
  • Some items from the Governor’s budget have been put on a separate “more work needed” track and will be dealt with separately
  • Republicans intend to “tweak” school funding to ensure the wealthy districts they represent don’t lose all their state funds

 

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