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Government


Ohio hikes its estimates of tax revenues
Budget director says about half of extra revenues will be available for tax cuts
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
Budget Director Tim Keen testifies to the budget conference committee.
Courtesy of Karen Kasler
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The committee working out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the state budget now has updated estimates on tax revenues and the cost of Medicaid. Those numbers were higher than previous estimates, but they came with a caution.

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The Office of Budget and Management estimates Ohio will collect $709 million more in tax revenues than the original forecast. But Budget Director Tim Keen says after payments to the federal government for unemployment benefits, transfers to the rainy day fund and other expenses are covere, the state will have only about $397 million extra to do more tax cuts or spending.

Conference committee members, from left to right, Rep. Vernon Sykes (D-Akron), Rep. Jeff McClain (R-Upper Sandusky), Rep. Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster), Sen. Scott Oelslager (R-Canton), Sen. Bill Coley (R-Middletown) and Sen. Tom Sawyer (D-Akron) listen to Keen's tesimony
“We will have to carefully review the policy choices that we make in order to ensure that we maintain an appropriate structural balance,” Keen says.

The House budget includes a 7 percent income tax cut, while the Senate version has a 50 percent tax cut, but only for small businesses. Conference committee co-chair Ron Amstutz, a Republican of Wooster, says the warning from Keen was understood.

“It’s going to be probably a more modest package than simply adding the two (House and Senate tax cuts) together," Amstutz says.

Amstutz hopes the committee will have recommendations early next week. The deadline for the new two-year budget to pass is July 1.

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