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Government and Politics


What will Ohio lawmakers be tackling this week?
Legislators will begin reviewing Gov. John Kasich's budget package, as well as a bill to try to prevent mass shootings, Ohio's school attendance scandal and regulating internet cafes
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT BILL COHEN


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Bill Cohen
 
Ohio Gov. John Kasich
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In The Region:

A month after a new legislative session began, Ohio lawmakers are getting down to work this week on a couple dozen proposals. Their top priority is a new two-year state budget, which would impact virtually every Ohioan every day. Statehouse Correspondent Bill Cohen has this preview.

Hear the what's going on next week in Ohio legislation

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Gov. John Kasich's $63 billion budget package, with the biggest proposed tax shift in decades, will be center-stage this week in the House Finance Committee. The measure would slash the state income tax 20 percent for families and 50 percent for small companies. But it also would apply a 5 percent sales tax to dozens of previously un-taxed services.

Kasich calls it a net $1.4 billion tax cut, but critics complain more than 40 percent of taxpayers on the low-income end, would see no net savings.

How the governor's plan would impact funding for schools is the focus of a separate hearing the Finance Committee plans.

Also this week:
  • The Senate Public Safety Committee has set a hearing on ways to prevent mass shootings at schools and other public places; the focus this week is mental health issues.
  • Regulating, perhaps even wiping out, internet cafes and sweepstakes stores is the goal of a bill getting a hearing in the House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee. The House passed a similar bill last year, but senators let it die. Critics of the storefronts call them illegal gambling operations that are going un-taxed. 
  • State representatives on the House Education Committee plan to look this week at school districts that have fudged attendance numbers over the years, a move that's inflated their overall student test scores. Lawmakers will hear from State Auditor Dave Yost, who's been investigating.
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