Education funding, Medicaid expansion, tax reduction see big changes
Republicans in the Ohio House have proposed boosting the amount of state aid districts get for each student while cutting back Gov. John Kasich's "Straight A" fund for innovation by half.
Kasich's education budget proposed spending $15.1 billion on K-12 education over the next two years, boosting funds to districts that are lagging behind in property values and household incomes. The proposal prompted an outcry by superintendents who said it delivered big increases to some wealthy districts and no new dollars to some poor ones.
The House plan rolled out Tuesday caps district funding increases to 6 percent a year and adds new money to meet a state mandate that students must know how to read before leaving 3rd grade.
Republican House leaders are dropping Gov. John Kasich's plan to expand Medicaid under the federal health overhaul to cover thousands more low-income Ohioans.
House lawmakers jettisoned the idea from their version of the two-year, state spending blueprint, which they released Tuesday. Rejecting expansion means the state would forgo $13 billion from the federal government over the next seven years to cover those newly eligible for Medicaid.
Many GOP lawmakers are averse to Democratic President Barack Obama's law and resistant to expanding government programs.
Kasich frames his support for expanding Medicaid a way to recapture Ohio taxpayers' federal money and help the state's most vulnerable get health care. House Speaker William Batchelder said there was a lack of clarity from Washington around the regulations under the law.
The Ohio House has preserved a portion of the statewide income-tax cut proposed by Gov. John Kasich in its version of the state operating budget, marking a partial victory for the Republican governor.
House budget changes released Tuesday included a 7-percent income tax reduction over two years. That compares to a 20-percent reduction over three years that had been proposed by Kasich. The governor accompanied his cut with a 50 percent tax cut for small businesses.
Kasich wants to reduce Ohio's income tax, which he views as economically burdensome. The governor's $63.2 billion, two-year budget paid for the cut with a tax increase on oil and gas extraction. The House has pulled that proposal, along with Kasich's proposed expansion of the sales tax to professional services.