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Government


Gov. Kasich's new budget cuts income taxes; ups cigarette, drilling taxes
Also emphasizes training, education and substance abuse prevention
by WKSU's ANDY CHOW


Reporter
Andy Chow
 
Gov. Kasich wants to boost cigarette taxes by nearly half, implement new oil and gas taxes and cut income taxes, again.
Courtesy of State of Ohio
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Ohio’s governor has rolled out his revisions to the state’s budget. As Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, the plan includes a substantial increase to the cigarette tax.

LISTEN: Gov. Kasich's newest spending plan

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LISTEN: Gov. Kasich's newest spending plan (extended)

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Republican Gov. John Kasich released his budget update, also known as the mid-biennium review, with some ambitious proposals, most notably a cigarette tax increase by 60 cents per pack.

The governor also proposed an increase to the tax on extracted oil and gas, also known as the severance tax. Kasich proposes to boost that rate to 2.75 percent. That’s a half-percent higher than the proposal currently in the House.

These adjustments are part of an effort to bring the top income tax rate to below 5 percent.

While he didn’t answer any questions about the mid-biennial budget, Kasich did address his education-related proposals during a workforce development meeting. He specifically talked about his plan to expand vocational learning to seventh graders.

“What we’re trying to do is develop a completely alternative way of making sure we don’t lose these students to the malls and the arcades and things that could be really horrible for them. These are students who are clearly at risk.”

In an initial reaction to looking through the MBR, House Democratic Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard says it appears the governor is shifting the tax burden to low- and middle-income families. 


Here's an outline of the governor's plans as laid out in the mid-biennial budget he unveiled today

Education: K-12

Dropout Prevention: The Ohio Department of Education and local school districts develop strategies to identify kids at-risk of dropping out, and connect with special career counseling and “alternative pathways to diplomas.”

Dropout Recovery: Proposes allowing community colleges and career centers to help adults earn credits toward a high school diploma while pursuing job training and credentials.

Mentorship: Proposes $10 million from casino-license fees for 3-to-1 matching grants to support community groups and businesses-mentor students.

Expanding Vocational Education: Making technical and vocational education available to students beginning in the seventh grade, but allowing school districts to opt-out of the expansion. 

Higher Education 

High School-Age College Enrollment Program: Encourage more students to earn college credit while completing high school courses by simplifying and changing funding in a way “that works for both high schools and higher education institutions.

Graduation:  Enacts the final piece of higher-education graduation policy to fund two-year colleges based on “successful student outcomes,” and gives school greater payments for older, low income, and minority students that are successful.

Ohio's Technical Centers: A new formula to shift the focus to students finding jobs by basing funding in part on the percentage of students finding jobs in their area of study and in part on the number of students who complete a workforce training program, or successfully receive an industry- recognized credential.

Technology and Distance Learning: Provide the chancellor of the Board of Regents with the ability to enter an agreement with the Midwestern Higher Education Compact “to allow Ohio colleges to deliver distance education to students in other states.”

Keeping Ohio's International Students in Ohio: The chancellor of the Board of Regents will create a “globalization liaison.”

Tuition: Giving Ohio's community colleges the option of giving their students a guaranteed tuition rate.

Veterans: Setting up uniform standards and procedures for granting college credit for military experience and ensuring that Ohio's public colleges and universities do not charge veterans “for evaluation, transcription and application” of military experience.

Taxes

Income tax cuts: Cutting income taxes across all income levels by 8.5 percent over the next three years. Also, increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit 5 to 15 percent of the federal credit. Raising the personal income-tax from $1,700 to $2,700 for Ohioans earning less than $40,000 a year and from $1,700 to $2,200 for those with annual incomes between $40,000 and $80,000.

Cigarette taxes:  Over two years, the tax would go from $1.25 to $1.85 per pack; the tax on other tobacco products—includng untaxed e-cigarettes—would rise to a level equivalent to the cigarette tax.

Oil and Gas Drilling Taxes: Sets a new low Tax Rate of 2.75 percent of producers' gross receipts, with $8 million of gross receipts per well exempt during the first three years. Severance taxes would be eliminated for small conventional gas producers. And 20 percent of severance tax revenue would go to local governments in shale oil and gas-producing regions to help with infrastructure and increased costs from drilling activity and to create a “legacy fund.”

The Commercial Activity Tax: Rate would climb from 0.26 percent to 0.30 percent.

Workforce development

Training: Aligning the three main federal workforce programs -- Adult Basic Literacy Education (ABLE), Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) and the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) -- through a single, integrated plan that provides faster training, better measures of success and greater efficiency.

Veterans: Making it easier for veterans to get academic and licensure credit

Social services

Mental illness and addiction: Increasing access to crisis intervention and temporary housing and treatment resources

Drug Abuse Prevention Campaign: Expand “Start Talking!” to encourage parents and children to talk about substance abuse, prioritize $6.5 million for prevention initiatives, allocate $26.9 million for tobacco cessation.

Autism: Creation of a voluntary, free online training and certification program for Ohioans who want to work with people with autism.

Human Services Innovation Office: Creation of an office within the Department of Job and Family Services to “begin preparing people for life and the dignity of work by breaking down silos within the state system for those in poverty.” 

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