Funding for Lake Erie cleanup, rural broadband improvements and an income tax cut each made it into the biennial 2022-23 state budget, signed by Gov. Mike DeWine last week, before the July 1 deadline.
State Senator Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, was one of the eight legislators on the Conference Committee who reconciled the House and Senate versions of the budget, where she advocated for several provisions that were included in the final version.
Passage in a conference committee ensures that all items in a budget will be included, since Ohio’s governor does have the line item veto option.
The bill, which passed the Ohio Senate and House with bipartisan support, provides for essential services of the state while providing the highest biennial personal income tax cut in state history.
The budget includes $1.6 billion in personal income tax cuts, including a 100% state income tax cut for anyone making $25,000 or less.
“In 2020, anyone making $22,150 or less paid $0 income tax. We expanded that to $25,000 — thereby cutting the income tax obligation for those Ohioans 100%, to $0,” Gavarone said.
An additional 125,000 Ohioans will no longer pay income taxes under this plan.
The budget also increases eligibility for families wanting to choose a different school or educational opportunity for their children.
“We have delivered a balanced, fiscally responsible budget that invests in essential services and people. The budget reflects our ongoing commitment to protecting Ohio’s natural resources and providing for our most vulnerable citizens, yet still returns historic tax dollars to the hardworking people of Ohio,” Gavarone said.
Gavarone helped secure nearly $170 million for the H2Ohio program, which is aimed at cleaning up Lake Erie from pollutants that cause the annual harmful algal bloom.
“As a legislator who represents a significant portion of Lake Erie shoreline, one of my priorities during the Senate and Conference Committee budget processes was to double funding for H2Ohio from the last budget and I was proud to achieve that goal,” Gavarone said.
She also co-sponsored legislation that will allow increased accessibility to high-speed internet access.
“Broadband is also another important issue because a large portion of my district is rural. I co-sponsored legislation to create funding for a statewide broadband program because I believe a strong internet connection is a great equalizer in today’s ever-changing world, and I was thrilled at the results of the work to get it in the budget,” Gavarone said.