Ohio Senate passes $86 billion state budget plan. Here are the differences it will have to reconcile with the House (2023)

COLUMBUS, Ohio—The Ohio Senate on Thursday passed a two-year, $85.8 billion state budget plan that would slash state taxes, dramatically expand publicly funded school vouchers, and make major changes to the state’s K-12 and college systems, among many other things.

The 9,198-page legislation, which was passed by a party-line, 24-7 vote, is now likely to head to a conference committee of House and Senate negotiators who will hammer out differences between the Senate’s budget plan and the House’s version before sending a final bill to Gov. Mike DeWine.

Senate Republicans, who hold more than three-fourths of the chamber’s seats, praised their budget plan, saying it would stimulate economic growth in the state, return money to taxpayers, and improve the state’s education system.

However, Senate Democrats said the GOP-backed budget plan would make “extreme” changes to education policy and doesn’t do enough to help poorer Ohioans.

Lawmakers pass a state budget every two years to approve state government spending. The House’s budget plan calls for $88 billion in general-revenue spending.

However, as with the governor’s and the Ohio House’s budget proposals before it, the Senate’s budget bill includes many proposed policy changes that have little to do with state spending.

Overall, both budget proposals reflect the state’s positive financial position, with tax revenues so far this fiscal year outpacing projections by more than $840 million, and a large chunk of one-time federal coronavirus relief money sitting there to spend.

Here are the major issues raised in the Senate and House budgets, as well as the major disagreements that the legislative conference committee will now have to iron out.

Tax cuts

Both the Senate and House budget plans would cut state income taxes, as lawmakers have done in previous legislative sessions.

However, the Senate’s plan seeks a comparatively steeper, $1.65 billion income tax cut that would slash taxes across the board, particularly for wealthier Ohioans, and eliminate all but two tax brackets. The House’s proposed $930 million cut, by comparison, would reduce income taxes only for lower- and middle-income residents.

The Senate’s budget plan – but not the House’s plan – also would dramatically reduce the number of Ohio businesses that have to pay the state’s commercial activity tax, or CAT.

Right now, the CAT is assessed on almost all companies with gross receipts of over $150,000 in the state. The Senate plan would change that by only charging the CAT on gross receipts beyond $6 million, starting in two years. If that becomes law, an estimated 90% of Ohio-based businesses that currently pay CAT – 145,000 of 163,000 – would no longer have to pay any amount of the tax, according to a Senate Finance Committee handout.

School voucher expansion

Both the House and Senate budget bills would expand publicly funded school vouchers for K-12 private schools, though the Senate’s plan would go much further than the House’s proposal.

Right now, income limits for Ohio’s voucher program are 250% of the federal poverty line, or $75,000 per year for a family of four.

Under both the House and the Senate budgets, any Ohio K-12 student in a family making less than 450% of the federal poverty line – equal to $135,000 in annual income for a family of four – would be eligible for vouchers.

The Senate’s budget, though, also would extend voucher eligibility to every K-12 student in Ohio, regardless of income. However, students from families making more than 450% of the poverty line would be eligible only for partial voucher scholarships of $650 or more, with the exact amount they receive being based on their families’ income.

The Senate’s plan, if put into law, would increase state spending on vouchers by $372.5 million during the next two years, bringing total voucher spending to more than $1 billion by 2025, according to estimates from the nonpartisan Legislative Service Commission.

The Senate budget bill also would allow any private charter school or private school participating in the Cleveland Scholarship Program to charge tuition to students from lower-income families beyond what their voucher scholarship pays. Right now, such schools have to waive that tuition for those students.

Another Senate budget provision would permit students receiving Cleveland Scholarship money to pay to attend private schools located outside of the Cleveland Municipal School District.

Combatting liberal “bias” on campus

The Senate’s bill, unlike the House, contains a sweeping package of higher-education reforms designed to reduce liberal influence at Ohio colleges and universities. It would, among other things, outlaw the ability of college faculty and staff to strike, ban mandated diversity training, and require annual faculty performance evaluations and post-tenure reviews that include examining whether students believe they show “bias” in their teaching.

It also would prohibit faculty at public colleges and universities in Ohio from teaching a certain point of view about a number of “controversial beliefs or policies,” including that global warming is real and human-caused.

The Senate also inserted millions of dollars in funding to create “independent academic units” at Ohio State University and the University of Toledo with their own bylaws, hiring and tenure authority. Proponents of the idea say the centers would encourage political diversity on campus, though critics see it as another attempt by GOP lawmakers to bring more conservative views to Ohio universities.

State Board of Education overhaul

The Senate inserted a controversial proposal to strip the State Board of Education of most of its powers and give them instead to the governor’s administration.

Republicans claim the change is needed because the state board, which has been beset by infighting over hot-button proposals like protections for LGBT students, has been slow to act in naming a new state superintendent of public instruction and to raise student test scores.

Critics, including Democrats, note that Republicans only advanced the proposal last November, shortly after three Democrats were elected to board seats previously held by Republicans The 19-member board includes 11 members elected by district and eight who are appointed by the governor.

At the start of the current session, Senate Republicans introduced an overhaul bill as Senate Bill 1 – indicating the proposal’s importance – and passed it during a party-line vote in March. That bill then went to the House, where committee hearings have since been held on it, but no floor vote has yet been scheduled.

Teacher salary raise

Unlike the Senate’s budget plan, the House’s budget bill would raise minimum salaries for Ohio teachers, which are set based on teachers’ education level and years of experience.

Under the House’s plan, teachers with a bachelor’s degree would have to be paid at least $40,000 per year, up from an annual minimum of $30,000 right now. Teachers with a master’s degree and at least 11 years of experience would see a larger minimum increase, from $48,690 per year right now to $64,920 annually.

If the House’s proposal becomes law, an estimated 16,800 teachers would see an increase in salary and benefit, according to the LSC. The raises would cost a total of $79.5 million per year across traditional school districts, the LSC estimated.

The Senate’s budget contains no increase for minimum teacher salaries.

Other education changes

Both the Senate and House budgets would fund the next leg of the Cupp-Patterson school funding plan. The Senate’s plan would kick in $1.3 billion more in state education funding over the next two years, about $541 million less than what the House budget calls for.

Since 2012, Ohio has required kids to repeat third grade if they don’t pass a reading proficiency test. Lawmakers suspended that requirement during the coronavirus pandemic; now, the House-passed budget would eliminate that requirement permanently. However, the Senate’s version of the budget would keep the third grade reading guarantee.

The two budget plans also include funding for DeWine’s plan to promote the “science of reading” instructional approach in schools, which requires students to break down words into parts and sound them out and incorporate phonics and vocabulary lessons.

Social safety net programs

The Senate’s budget plan calls for rolling back the House’s proposal to spend more money on programs to feed, house, and cover health-care costs for some of the state’s poorest citizens. The Senate’s version would also remove hundreds of millions of dollars worth of childcare funding, compared to what DeWine and the House are seeking.

The Senate’s proposal would also, among other things, require a photo ID and phone number for most Ohioans to receive food stamps.

Both the House and Senate budget, however, includes DeWine proposals to provide tax incentives to build and pay for affordable housing, including $100 million in low-income housing tax credits (the House proposed $500 million), income-tax deductions for homeownership savings accounts, and $50 million in tax credits for single-family affordable housing.

Earmarks for Northeast Ohio

The House’s budget includes a number of spending proposals for specific projects around the state, many of which are from Northeast Ohio. Among them is a proposed $62 million for a “land bridge” connecting Cleveland’s downtown and lakefront.

However, the Senate removed those earmarks. Instead, senators stripped out $1 billion from the House’s budget to improve rural highways and offered it instead as grants around the state. Some of that money could potentially go toward the proposed land bridge and other Northeast Ohio projects, if lawmakers approve it down the line.

Summer sales tax holiday

For years, Ohio lawmakers have designated the first weekend in August as a “back-to-school tax holiday,” during which shoppers are not charged state or local sales taxes for items such as clothing and school supplies.

The Senate’s budget would expand that holiday in 2024 to last a full two weeks, starting on Aug. 1, and go far beyond school supplies. During that time, all items priced at $500 or less would be exempt from sales tax, except motor vehicles, watercraft, alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco and vapor products.

In Cuyahoga County, where customers pay a total of 8% state and local sales tax, that means anyone buying $100 worth of eligible school supplies would save $8. Local governments would be reimbursed by the state for revenue losses from the holiday.

After 2024, back-to-school tax holidays would automatically expand beyond a single weekend in years when there is more than $50 million in excess money in the state’s general revenue fund.

Other differences between the House and Senate budget plans include:

  • The Senate inserted $11.3 million to pay for the Aug. 8 special election on State Issue 1, a Republican-backed proposed constitutional amendment that would make it harder to pass future amendments, including an anticipated abortion-rights amendment in November. However, the Senate bill would also give permission to spend an additional $4.7 million on the election if needed. Elections officials have publicly questioned whether the Senate’s proposal will provide enough to cover the cost of the election. The House’s version of the budget doesn’t appropriate any money for the special election.
  • The Senate budget incorporates a bill that would allow many police departments around the state to lower their minimum age to become officers from 21 to 18. Proponents, including representatives of cities and townships, say such a change would help address a widespread hiring shortage and note that many city police departments already hire people younger than 21. Critics, including many law-enforcement officials, say teenagers don’t have the emotional or mental capacity to handle such a job.
  • The House budget would allow Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton counties to have seven sports-gaming facilities, rather than the five allowed under current law. That would provide an opportunity for sportsbook applicants in Cuyahoga County who were previously rejected, including Bobby George’s Harry Buffalo; Steve Rosen, co-CEO of a private equity firm called Resilience Capital Partners in Beachwood; and downtown developer Stark Enterprises.
  • The Senate’s budget would prohibit student members of the Ohio State University Board of Trustees from having voting rights or being able to attend executive sessions. It would also reduce the terms of all non-student trustees at state universities from nine years to six years starting in 2024.
  • The Senate budget bill would no longer require the Lorain City School District to be under the control of an academic distress commission, as it has been since 2017.
  • The Senate’s plan would prohibit most state employees from working from home for more than 8 hours during a 40-hour workweek at any point between Oct. 1 and July 2025.
  • Senators are seeking to prohibit local governments from passing any tobacco rules that are stricter than state rules. If passed, that would overrule existing bans on flavored tobacco in at least three cities -- Toledo, Columbus and the Columbus suburb of Bexley.

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What does Ohio House Bill 110 do? ›

HB 110 also provides tax relief for Ohioans who support private-school students, along with parents who choose other educational options for their kids.

How much is the Ohio State budget? ›

Ohio's current budget

Governor DeWine released his FY 2024-2025 biennial budget proposal and gave his state of the state address in January 2023. Ohio enacted its FY 2022-2023 biennial budget in June 2021. The enacted budget included $80.8 billion in total spending for FY 2022 and $81.1 for FY 2023.

Did Ohio Senate Bill 3 pass? ›

COLUMBUS— Today the Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 3, sending to the House a bill that will provide more opportunities for Ohioans get treatment for substance abuse rather than sending them to prison.

What does Ohio House bill 157 do? ›

To enact sections 109.50 and 109.96 of the Revised Code to create the Bureau of Hate Crimes in the Office of the Attorney General and to authorize the Attorney General to prosecute hate crimes.

What is House bill 197 working from home in Ohio? ›

This is one of several cases that Buckeye Institute employees have filed in various counties in Ohio challenging HB 197, which deems remote work performed by an employee working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic to occur at an employee's principal place of business for purposes of determining Ohio local income ...

How much is Ohio State in debt? ›

In the fiscal year of 2021, Ohio's state debt stood at about 32.79 billion U.S. dollars. By the fiscal year of 2027, this is forecasted to increase to about 44.04 billion U.S. dollars. The national debt of the United Stated can be found here.

Is Ohio State worth the money? ›

Below Average Value Nationwide

Ohio State University - Main Campus is ranked #1,555 out of 2,223 for value nationwide. Based on our analysis of other colleges at similar price points, we believe Ohio State University - Main Campus is overpriced for the quality education it provides.

How much surplus does Ohio have? ›

COLUMBUS — Ohio quietly ended its fiscal year on June 30 with an unprecedented year-end surplus of nearly $5.7 billion but did so without triggering provisions of state law that might have required some of that largess to be socked away for a rainy day or returned to taxpayers.

What is Ohio Senate bill 61? ›

On June 14, 2022, Governor Mike DeWine signed Substitute Senate Bill 61 (“S.B. 61”) into law, codifying protections for homeowners who wish to install solar panels on their property. S.B. 61 takes effect on September 13, 2022.

Did Ohio House bill 288 pass? ›

On January 3rd, 2023 Ohio Governor Mike Dewine signed Senate Bill 288 (“SB 288”) into law. One important provision of this bill is to strengthen the existing "Driving while Texting" law under section 4511.204 of the Ohio Revised Code. Specifically, the use of cell phones or other electronic devices while driving.

What is Senate bill 80 in Ohio? ›

Solicit research on COVID-19 and myocarditis relationship

To solicit research on the relationship between COVID-19 and myocarditis and to make an appropriation.

What is the Ohio House bill heartbeat? ›

Ohio's Heartbeat Law appears in Section 2919.19 through 2919.1910 of Ohio Revised Code (ORC). The relevant part of Ohio's Heartbeat Law appears in Section 2919.193. It does not allow performing or inducing an abortion without first checking for a heartbeat.

What is Ohio House bill 371? ›

HB 371 provides coverage for an annual mammogram for all adult women. However, for nearly 50% of women who have dense breast tissue, supplemental tests are needed in addition to a mammogram. Dense breast tissue masks cancer on mammograms and also increases the risk of developing breast cancer.

What is Ohio House bill 466? ›

Establish requirements for health care staffing agencies.

What is Ohio House Bill 248? ›

To amend sections 2923.13 and 2923.20 of the Revised Code to exempt certain antique firearms from the prohibitions against having weapons while under disability and unlawful transactions in weapons.

What is House Bill 366 Ohio? ›

Parenting Time Adjustment: There is a belief that the former tables accounted for parenting. time and made an adjustment. That is not true. The new law provides a 10% parenting time. adjustment for all standard parenting time orders (90 overnights per year or roughly every other.

What is Ohio House Bill 315? ›

The bill limits existing protections for victims, particularly those of sexual and domestic violence.

What state has the worst debt? ›

States With Most Debt

The ten states with the most debt in the US are California, New York, Texas, Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio, New Jersey, and Washington. California ranks first for states with the most debt, with a debt of $520 billion, followed by New York in second place with $368 billion.

Which state is not in debt? ›

Alaska takes the No. 1 spot, with a tiny debt ratio of only 14.2%. Its total liabilities amount to only $12.65 billion compared to total assets of approximately $89.17 billion in 2019.

What state is deepest in debt? ›

When looking at a debt-to-income ratio, a number above one means that people have taken on more debt than they have income. Hawaii had the highest DTI at 2.31, which lines up with our study on cheapest states to live in. Credit Karma found that Hawaii was the most expensive state.

Is Ohio State expensive to live? ›

The cost of living in Ohio is 11% lower than the national average. Housing is 28% lower than the national average, while utilities are 7% lower. When it comes to basic necessities such as food and clothing, groceries are around 4% lower than in the rest of the country, while clothing costs 4% lower.

How does Ohio make so much money? ›

Manufacturing is the largest of Ohio's major sectors, based on GDP. Major sectors and their contributions to Ohio's economy are presented in the chart above. Roughly 54 percent of the state's manufacturing output consists of durable goods.

How rich is Ohio compared to other states? ›

Ohio is currently ranked 20th in the United States for its economic outlook. This is a forward-looking forecast based on the state's standing (equal-weighted average) in 15 important state policy variables. Data reflect state and local rates and revenues and any effect of federal deductibility.

Does Ohio have a strong economy? ›

Ohio's strong and stable economy provides the solid foundation for businesses in the Columbus Region and across the state.

Does Ohio have a good economy? ›

Ohio Ranks #3 in the Nation for Overall Economic Development Projects and Major Investment Projects Per Capita.

What does the state of Ohio spend the most money on? ›

Top 5
NameAwarded Amount% of Total
1. Social Security Administration (SSA)$44.56B41.42%
2. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)$34.10B31.7%
3. Department of Agriculture (USDA)$6.27B5.83%
4. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)$6.02B5.59%
1 more row

What is Ohio House bill 93? ›

Regards limits on recovery and lien imposition by municipalities.

What is Ohio House bill 122? ›

HB 122 helps expand telehealth availability through two primary mechanisms: (i) requiring health plans to reimburse healthcare professionals for providing covered telehealth services, and (ii) expanding the classes of health care providers who are authorized to provide telehealth services.

What is Ohio House bill 86? ›

House Bill 86 increases available “earned credit” for eligible offenders. It is not “good time.” It must be earned. An offender can earn one or five days credit toward a prison term for each completed month during which he or she productively participates in an eligible program.

What is Ohio House bill 377? ›

Prohibits requiring employee to join employee organization.

What is Ohio House bill 126? ›

To amend section 718.01 of the Revised Code to expand a municipal income tax exemption for military pay.

What is House bill 163 in Ohio? ›

Prohibit mandatory nurse overtime

To amend section 3727.53 and to enact section 3727.58 of the Revised Code to prohibit a hospital from requiring a nurse to work overtime as a condition of continued employment.

What is Ohio House bill 33? ›

Ohio Bill Tracker. To make operating appropriations for the biennium beginning July 1, 2023, and ending June 30, 2025, to levy taxes, and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of state programs.

What is Ohio House bill 135? ›

HB 135 – Ohio

Requires health insuring corporations and sickness and accident insurers to apply amounts paid by or on behalf of covered individuals toward cost-sharing requirements.

Who owns I 80 in Ohio? ›

The road is owned and maintained by the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission (OTIC), headquartered in Berea.

What is the Ohio budget bill HB 110? ›

H.B. 110 makes several investments in economic development programming. The Ohio Rural Industrial Park Loan Program will receive $15 million in FY 2022 and 2023. The budget bill also creates the Brownfield Remediation Program, a new mechanism to award grants for remediation throughout Ohio.

What is the homeschooling tax credit in Ohio? ›

Senate Bill 11 expands eligibility for Ed Choice tuition vouchers to all Ohio K-12 students and increases the homeschooling tax credit to $2,000. Students may use the Ed Choice tuition voucher at participating chartered nonpublic schools. What is our position on Senate Bill 11?

What changes under Ohio's new fair school funding plan? ›

The new formula calls for an estimated increase of $2 billion per year in state education expenditures—a roughly 20 percent bump—and includes a new “base cost” model intended to determine the cost of educating an average student, among other structural modifications.

What does the Ohio Controlling Board do? ›

The Controlling Board is a resource for reviewing and approving adjustments to the state budget. State law establishes the Controlling Board as a mechanism for handling necessary adjustments to the state budget.

What is HB 1 bill in Ohio? ›

House Bill 1 (HB 1) proposes an estimated $2 billion reduction in Ohio's state income tax. The income tax would be changed from the current graduated rate structure which has been in place since the income tax's inception in 1972 to a flat rate structure with a single rate of 2.75%.

What is House bill 305 Ohio? ›

Create new school financing system.

Do seniors have to pay school taxes in Ohio? ›

Any individual (including retirees, students, minors, etc.) or estate that receives income while a resident of a taxing school district is subject to school district income tax. Individuals who work, but do not live, in a taxing school district are not subject to the district's income tax.

Is unschooling legal in Ohio? ›

Unschooling is a form of homeschooling, and homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. And while there are no official “unschooling laws,” the laws that regulate how you homeschool in each state can affect the way you approach—or at least report—your homeschooling progress.

What is the free homeschool program in Ohio? ›

Discovery K12 is an online platform and curriculum for independent homeschoolers. The curriculum is free for pre-k to twelfth grade, and includes all major subjects. You may use our curriculum any way you like: part time, full time and supplement to it.

How much does the state of Ohio pay for each student? ›

K-12 funding in the 2020-23 budget

While each district's state support will be unique, the Legislative Budget Office estimates that on a statewide basis, the average per-pupil state aid will rise to $7,202.

What did the Ohio Supreme Court rule on school funding? ›

It was March 24, 1997, twenty-six years ago, when Ohio's Supreme Court declared the state's method of funding public education unconstitutional.

What is the Ohio school Quality Improvement Grant? ›

The School Quality Improvement Grant provides funds to identified schools to implement sustainable, strategic improvement strategies. Activities funded by these grants should be part of a broader continuous improvement plan.

How much does the state board of education pay in Ohio? ›

As of May 20, 2023, the average annual pay for a School Board in Ohio is $63,366 a year.

Who controls education in Ohio? ›

State Board of Education of Ohio.

Who controls the Ohio General Assembly? ›

Ohio General Assembly
HousesSenate House of Representatives
President of the SenateMatt Huffman (R) since January 4, 2021
President pro tempore (Senate)Kirk Schuring (R) since January 3, 2023
23 more rows


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