Session Preview: Ohio could tackle economic, gun and election policies


Ohio’s Republican Gov. John Kasich. (Tony Dejak/Associated Press.)

Ohio’s legislature has a lot on its plate this year including budget, tax, election and gun policies.

Over the next few weeks, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) will unveil two significant budget plans, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer: a review that will include adjustments to the budget passed last year and a plan to fund construction projects around the state. Lawmakers will also consider increasing funding for public works projects to nearly $1.9 billion over the next decade.

Ohio’s lawmakers will also consider hiking oil and gas taxes — raising an estimated $1.7 billion over a decade —and changing the municipal income tax code, the Plain Dealer reports:

The Ohio Senate, meanwhile, will take up long-discussed legislation aimed at standardizing and streamlining parts of the state’s patchwork municipal income tax system.

Business groups have pushed for the changes for years, saying it’s often confusing and costly for companies who do work in multiple cities to comply with all the different tax forms, deadlines and rules.

But local governments are fighting the bill, saying it would slash their revenues at a time when they’re already reeling from state funding cuts and the end of the tangible personal property tax and estate tax.

There are some other key issues the Ohio legislature could take up, according to the Columbus Dispatch:

  • Two election bills could shorten early, in-person voting from 35 days before an election to 29 days and prohibit counties from sending out unsolicited absentee ballots.
  • After approving a Medicaid expansion last year, lawmakers may consider some tweaks, limiting or discouraging use of it.
  • The state could also become the latest to enact a “stand your ground” law—the controversial policy cited by the defense in the trial against Trayvon Martin’s shooter.

 

 

Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.
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