Governor Unveils Third Budget; Analysts Weigh In

Gov. John Kasich introduced his third two-year budget on Groundhog Day. And that spending plan had some elements of the movie “Groundhog Day” in it – it brought back some proposals that budget watchers and state lawmakers have seen before, including income tax cuts and tax increases. He’s proposed a 23% across the board income tax cut and the elimination of taxes on a million small businesses with less than $2 million in annual sales. He’s also proposing a doubling of the income tax exemption for low-income Ohioans and an increase in subsidized child care for people making up to 300% of the federal poverty level. And again, Kasich is suggesting paying for his tax cuts with a package of tax increases totaling $5.2 billion - coming from dollar hike in the tobacco tax, raising it to $2.25; a 6.5% increase in the severance tax on oil and gas drillers; a 25% increase in the commercial activity tax or CAT; and a half-percent hike in the sales tax to 6.25% and a broadening of the tax to services that aren’t paying it now. Kasich also says he’s increasing spending on K-12 education and making changes in the school funding formula. And he wants tuition caps and a fund for students to help deal with higher education. And the budget also includes Kasich’s Medicaid expansion from last year.Reaction to the budget was varied - many groups supported it, but there were some who raised concerns, including the industries that would be hit with tax increases protested.

There are a lot of opinions on the budget – related to policy, perspective and politics. Two Statehouse veterans with very different views share their thoughts. Mike Gonidakis is the president of Ohio Right to Life, and a former deputy attorney general, but he speaks on the show as a Republican analyst. Keary McCarthy is the president of the progressive think tank Innovation Ohio and before that, he was the Chief of Staff for the Ohio House Democratic caucus.

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