OSCPA staff report
Gov. John Kasich and Republican leaders from the Ohio House and Senate held a joint news conference last week to announce how they were addressing a revenue shortfall of more than $600 million.
They’re starting by cutting $400 million per fiscal year off the revenue outlook – $800 million total – for the coming biennium, with additional cuts expected by June, when Kasich’s budget bill needs to be approved.
Kasich along with House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R- Clarksville, and Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, promised to cooperate to produce a balanced two-year spending plan.
The Office of Budget and Management predicted a $592 million shortfall for 2017 while the proposed budget – HB 49 – was being written. But since then actual shortfalls have already surpassed $600 million, and there are still three months to go in the fiscal year.
Kasich and the legislative leaders did not discuss initial details of their plan, though they acknowledged a need to address drug addiction.
The governor said the revenue shortfall probably makes a net tax cut unlikely, though he held out hope that offsetting increases elsewhere could still make an income tax cut possible.
Later in the week Democrat lawmakers criticized Republican priorities and urged legislators to rule out further tax cuts.
After a two-week break, the legislature returns to Columbus April 25 when the House is scheduled to release its substitute version of HB 49. Committee hearings and testimony will follow, with a second round of amendments to be considered early the following week. The full House is expected to vote on HB 49 on May 4, sending the bill to the Senate.
OSCPA priorities unaffected… so far
HB 49 includes the much-needed change of centralized collection and administration of municipal net profits taxes, which would result in simplicity and savings for Ohio businesses. Though last week’s discussion of budget cuts won’t affect this bold proposal, it is still vocally opposed by city and village officials and at risk for significant negative changes. For the huge percentage of OSCPA members who, for years, have clamored for this type of change: you need to speak up NOW! Doing so is as easy as leaving a phone message with your state representative or sending a letter or email, and will have a meaningful impact. Need help? OSCPA’s government relations team is standing by to help.