By John Becker
The state operating budget (Substitute House Bill 59) has passed out of the Ohio House and is on its way to the Senate, where it will receive further consideration.
The budget bill was vetted and debated extensively in the House Finance and Appropriations Committee for a total of 69 hours, during which time 131 witnesses shared their testimony.
The budget bill that passed out of the House is vastly different than when it was given to us by Governor Kasich. Overall, the budget adopted by the Finance Committee includes about $2 billion in less spending than the governor’s plan over the next two years.
As many people know, part of the governor’s proposal was to expand Medicaid in Ohio, an idea I strongly opposed from Day One. Expanding a federal program that is inefficient, ineffective and wrought with fraud and abuse is simply not something I can support. Not to mention, it would further expand dependency and might very well collapse under a federal government that continues racking up colossal debt spending money it doesn’t have. At that point, despite being promised otherwise, massive costs would be placed on the shoulders of Ohioans.
Another major part of the budget proposal is tax reform. Sub. House Bill 59 features a permanent 7 percent cut in the personal income tax, which equals nearly $1.5 billion in tax cuts during the next two years. I strongly support this proposal because allowing Ohioans to keep more money in their pockets helps the economy, makes Ohio more competitive and enhances individual liberty.
While I do not serve on the House Finance Committee, I did follow the testimony very closely and remained in close proximity to the issues being discussed during the entire process.
I believe the committee has made a number of necessary improvements. There is still a long way to go before it is signed into law, and by no means is the bill that the House passed going to be the final product.
John Becker is the state representative serving the 65th House District.