COLUMBUS—State Representative Brian Hill (R-Zanesville) announced that the Ohio House of Representatives has approved the conference committee report on Amended Substitute House Bill 49, the state operating budget. With a major focus on combating Ohio’s dangerous drug epidemic and ensuring that schools receive vital funding, the legislation provides support to areas most in need and keeps spending under the rate of inflation over the biennium.
“House Bill 49 is one of the most conservative budgets in recent history, but still provides funding for drug treatment and prevention and assistance for Ohio’s farming community. Agriculture is Ohio’s number one industry and CAUV reform was necessary to keep Ohio’s farmers competitive going into the future,” said Rep. Hill.
The bill addresses the following issues, among others:
MODERNIZING THE CAUV (CURRENT AGRICULTURAL USE VALUE) FORMULA
Through various reforms to be phased in over a six-year period, the bill aims to offer property tax relief for farmers by reducing the taxable value of farmland. Ohio’s farmers have experienced over a 300% increase of the taxable value of their land over the past decade, and the relief provided by CAUV reforms will ensure the safety and security of our food supply for years to come.
COMBATING THE DRUG EPIDEMIC
As championed by the House through the Ohio HOPES (Heroin, Opioids, Prevention, Education and Safety) Agenda, the budget tackles the state’s drug epidemic head-on with funding totaling $180 million in new money. Investments focused on the areas of prevention, treatment, mental health care and workforce programs ensure that communities across Ohio, both rural and urban, receive the support they need to educate young people, help those who are addicted and prevent overdose deaths, which is a statistic that continues to rise.
Enhancing opportunities for all Ohioans is a central component of the state operating budget with an increase in K-12 education funding by $154 million in FY’18 and $120 million in FY’ 19. The bill also increases per-pupil funding and rewards high-performing educational service centers.
HEALTH INSURING CORPORATION FRANCHISE FEE
The budget levies a monthly franchise fee on health insuring corporation plans and requires the Director of the Ohio Department of Medicaid to seek federal approval to increase the franchise fee, raising up to an additional $207 million each fiscal year. The additional funds raised would be distributed to each county and transit authority that experiences reduced sales tax revenues due to the cessation of the sales tax on Medicaid health insuring corporations, providing more aid to counties in their fight against the opioid epidemic.
Am. Sub. H.B. 49 will now head to the Governor for his consideration.