COLUMBUS — Ohio’s new state budget is making major investments in Southeast Ohio priorities, State Representative Jay Edwards announced Monday evening.
According to a news release sent on behalf of Edwards (R-Nelsonville), he “helped advance several initiatives included in the final version of the new two-year state budget,” which was approved by lawmakers in the Ohio House and Ohio Senate.
“We’re investing in our part of Ohio, we’re investing in education and workforce development,” Edwards said. “The budget supports law enforcement, first responders and veterans. We’re making a major investment in broadband and we’re helping Ohioans keep more of what they earn. This is a budget that will make a difference.”
Locally, the budget bill, House Bill 110, includes $2 million for the Bailey’s Bike Trail project. It also includes $10 million for the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio and $2.5 million for the Appalachian Children’s Coalition.
According to the news release, Edwards also noted additional investment in the Rural Industrial Park Program, which will receive $30 million over the next two years. Edwards helped reinstate funding for the program two years ago after it went without state support for several years. The East Meigs Industrial Park is among those who have benefited from the program.
Other highlights of the budget include:
Fair School Funding Plan – The new state budget includes the Fair School Funding Plan, the result of three years of work between educators and policymakers;
Tax Relief – The budget includes a 3 percent across the board personal income tax cut. It reduces the number of tax brackets from five to four, and eliminates the income tax for anyone making less than $25,000 per year;
Broadband – The new state budget also makes a major investment in broadband, providing $250 million to support broadband expansion;
Higher Education – The budget makes major investments in higher education, including nearly $220 million for the Ohio College Opportunity Grant over the next two years. The grant is the largest need-based financial aid program for higher education. The state budget plan also supports several initiatives at Ohio University, such as the Voinovich School and the Rural University Program.
The budget bill now heads to Governor Mike DeWine for his review. It must be in place by June 30.