Balancing the budget


By Ohio Sen. Keith Faber - Contributing columnist



Although Washington continues to ignore a crippling national debt that has grown to over $18 trillion, the Ohio General Assembly recently passed a balanced biennial budget which directly benefits all Ohioans by cutting taxes and investing in jobs and education.

It has always been my belief that in order to have a prospering economy, the taxpayers of Ohio must be able to keep more of their hard earned money. The Senate worked to pass this year’s biennial budget with an impressive $1.97 billion tax cut. Combine this with the $3 billion tax cut from the previous budget and Ohioans have received almost $5 billion in tax cuts in recent years.

With this newly passed budget, Ohio’s income tax rate will be reduced by an astonishing 6.3 percent, the lowest rate Ohioans have seen since 1982. Additionally, small businesses will continue to receive the 75 percent income tax cut on their first $250,000 of income and in FY 2017 this tax will be eliminated altogether. After their first $250,000 in income, small businesses would then pay a 3 percent flat tax on any additional income. With these tax cuts, individuals and businesses alike can now reinvest in an economy that is continually growing.

The Senate also wanted to ensure that this budget would have a positive impact on our children, as well as provide consistency and predictability in education. With a focus on low-wealth/low-capacity school districts, approximately $10 billion per year will be invested in K-12 education with all schools being guaranteed at least the same amount of state funding this school year (2015-16) as they received in the previous year. It is my hope that this additional funding to low-wealth/low-capacity districts will benefit students in the 12th Senate District.

Another priority of the Senate was to make a strong investment in higher education while at the same time reducing the total cost required for a student to attend college. This is why 18 months ago I issued the “Senate 5 percent Challenge” to our state’s two-year and four-year institutions. My goal is to challenge colleges and universities across the state to come up with their own plans on how to reduce their student cost by 5 percent or more, and I appreciate the partnership and innovative thinking of our university leaders.

In the budget we froze tuition at all state colleges and universities for the next two years. Universities across the state of Ohio have come up with innovative plans to ease the financial burden associated with receiving a higher education, and together we are setting an example for schools nationwide. The Senate is proud to have championed this portion of the budget, and we firmly believe that it is a worthwhile investment in our children who are our future.

No legislation is more important to our state’s operation than the budget. Our guiding principles were simple: to deliver a balanced and sustainable spending plan that makes Ohio’s tax rate more competitive, saves for emergencies, and invests money back into K-12 and higher education. In stark contrast with Washington, D.C., I believe that the state of Ohio is successfully accomplishing its goals by implementing sound fiscal policies that will benefit all Ohioans.

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By Ohio Sen. Keith Faber

Contributing columnist

Faber represents Ohio’s 12th Senate District, which encompasses all of Allen, Champaign, Mercer and Shelby counties, as well as portions of Auglaize, Darke and Logan counties. He currently serves as president of the Ohio Senate. Learn more at www.OhioSenate.gov/Faber.

Faber represents Ohio’s 12th Senate District, which encompasses all of Allen, Champaign, Mercer and Shelby counties, as well as portions of Auglaize, Darke and Logan counties. He currently serves as president of the Ohio Senate. Learn more at www.OhioSenate.gov/Faber.