- Associated Press - Monday, June 8, 2015

A look at some of the proposed changes that state senators are seeking in their $71.3 billion, two-year operating budget:

SPENDING:

- Spends $71.3 billion from the general revenue funds fueled by Ohio tax collections, compared to $71.5 billion spent in the House version.

TAXES:

- Exempts first $250,000 in small business income from the state income tax and imposes 3 percent flat rate on small business income above that amount.

- Eliminates means testing that would have resulted in tax increases on Social Security benefits for some recipients. Administration proposal, retained in the House, raised $220.7 million for the state’s general fund and delivered $3.8 million to local governments and libraries.

- Offsets that lost revenue by imposing a 40-cent increase on a pack of cigarettes and increasing the tax rate on other tobacco products from 17 percent to 22.5 percent.

- Invests $8 million over two years in tobacco cessation programs.

K-12 EDUCATION:

- Reduces basic state aid to schools by about $65 million, as compared to the House-passed budget, while providing funding bonuses based on graduation and literacy performance.

- Guarantees no district will fall below its fiscal year 2015 funding level while continuing to phase down the tangible personal property supplement.

- Revises school funding formula to drive additional dollars to low-wealth, low-capacity districts while ensuring more districts are on the school funding formula.

HIGHER EDUCATION:

- Freezes tuition rates at public two-year and four-year colleges and universities for the two years beginning in July.

- Requires institutions to propose ways to also reduce student costs by 5 percent.

- Increases state higher education funding by $81.9 million a year over the biennium, plus an additional $76.2 million in fiscal year 2017.

HEALTH CARE:

- Restores funding for Medicaid coverage for pregnant women up to 200 percent of poverty and restores Medicaid coverage for breast and cervical cancer screenings.

- Rolls back a House plan to require that certain Medicaid beneficiaries contribute to a health savings account, while giving more flexibility to the administration in deciding to create such a policy.

OTHER:

- Provides money for bolstering police training programs and increased training hours.

- Creates a revolving loan fund to help lakes affected by economic distress, including Buckeye Lake; and a government support fund targeted at townships.

- Provides $13 million for digital electronic pollbook technology.

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SOURCE: Ohio Senate Majority Caucus

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