By State Representative Jarrod Martin
With a budget gap of $8 billion this year, the Ohio House has fought to put Ohio on more stable financial footing by crafting a sustainable, responsible budget. With innovative solutions that will lead to long-term stability for our state, we reexamined the size and scope of state government, invested in the things that matter, and did not raise taxes on Ohioans.
One of the priorities in this budget was Ohio’s education system. Nothing affects the future stability of a state as much as the education of its young people. We significantly expanded options for parents regarding which schools their children can attend. Additionally, the General Assembly has ensured that all school districts in Ohio receive at least what they received in state aid last year, which will maintain a quality educational structure for our children.
We also ensured that more Ohioans have access to our state’s higher education institutions as well. The Legislature fought to keep tuition at a more affordable level by capping the annual increases at 3.5 percent. We also included a provision to allow our state’s high school graduates who leave Ohio to return within a set time frame and receive in-state tuition.
An ongoing priority for the Ohio House is job creation and Ohio’s business climate, and this was reflected in the biennial budget. We aimed to attract more people to Ohio by eliminating the state’s death tax starting in 2013. This unfair and unnecessary double tax has compelled Ohioans to flee to other states to retire, farm and build their businesses without the hindrance of the state taking more from them. It also has contributed to Ohio’s notoriously burdensome and anti-business tax climate, which this Legislature is committed to rectifying during this General Assembly.
We also worked to strengthen Ohio’s businesses through the creation of InvestOhio, which allows Ohioans who make an investment in one of Ohio’s small businesses for two years to receive a tax credit of 10 percent. Not only does this encourage up to $1 billion in new, job-creating investments for the next two years, but it also encourages additional investment down the road. With healthy businesses in Ohio, there are more jobs for our communities.
To protect the most vulnerable in our communities, the Legislature allocated $31.3 million in fiscal year 2012 and $63 million in fiscal year 2013 over the executive budget for PASSPORT, which provides a home-care option for seniors. We also allocated an additional $7.5 million for mental health services.
This General Assembly has been entirely focused on getting our state in order and providing a brighter future for all Ohioans. Your phone calls, e-mails and letters continue to help my work in the Statehouse by keeping me informed and guiding my decision-making in Columbus. If you have other ideas for getting Ohio back on track, I may be reached by calling (614) 644-6020, e-mailing District70@ohr.state.oh.us, or writing to State Rep. Jarrod Martin, 77 South High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215