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Experts Debate What Should and Shouldn't Be in the MBR


Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald has launched his first TV ad – three months after his opponent hit the airwaves. On the same day, and almost certainly not coincidentally, the Ohio Republican Party put up a website where it says it will post negative ads and editorials about Ed FitzGerald.

We’ve passed the halfway point of the two-year budget cycle, and the budget update called the mid-biennium review or MBR is now law. It created more than $400 million in tax cuts, including an acceleration of the personal income tax cut in the two-year budget and an increase in the tax cut for small businesses. It also doubled the earned income tax credit for low-income taxpayers, and increased the personal deduction for people making under $80,000 a year. And it transferred up to $300 million to the Medicaid reserve fund. It also does a bunch of other things, such as change the teacher evaluation review system, increase the setback for wind turbines, set new caging requirement for venomous snakes and permit optometrists to issue handicapped parking cards. But there are still parts of the MBR that haven’t been dealt with, including Gov. John Kasich’s proposed increase in the tax on cigarettes, his hike in the severance tax on oil and natural gas drillers and his increase in the commercial activity tax. To talk about that and more are two learned experts in state policy on a variety of issues. John Begala is a former Democratic state lawmaker and is the executive director of the Center for Community Solutions, a social services research and advocacy group based in Cleveland. Matt Mayer is president of Opportunity Ohio, a conservative think tank based in Dublin near Columbus.