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Kasich budget lowers taxes, expands Medicaid

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Governor John Kasich’s new state budget plan has something for everyone.

The governor’s $63.3 billion spending plan for the two-year period beginning in July calls for cuts to income and sales taxes, expanded Medicaid coverage and a tuition cap at Ohio’s public universities.

Small business owners will also see lower taxes, but taxes will increase on oil and gas drillers in the state.

“We’ve had too many businesses, too many people that have left this state and taken their wallets with them,” Kasich said during a media briefing.

Under the 2014-15 budget, income taxes would be reduced by 20 percent, income taxes on small businesses by 50 percent and the sales tax by nine percent, $1.4 billion worth of reductions that would be phased in over three years.

Kasich credits his administration’s frugality with creating a rainy day fund surplus of $1.9 billion, which means a $400 million automatic tax cut this year.

“Gov. Kasich’s tax proposals will take Ohio in wrong direction by shifting a greater share of taxes onto lower- and middle-income Ohioans, while reducing the revenue needed to support vital public services. Ohio tried cutting income-tax rates 21 percent eight years ago, and it didn’t work,” the liberal group Policy Matters said in a statement issued shortly after the budget was released.

Ohio Republican Party chairman Bob Bennett called the budget blueprint “a win for Ohio families.”

“Governor Kasich’s bold new budget builds on momentum from his last budget, and is essential to put Ohio’s fiscal house back in order and continue our progress,” he said.

Kasich’s budget also extends Medicaid to cover Ohioans with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, increasing the overall Medicaid budget by 13.2 percent in 2014 and by 9.6 percent to in 2015.

“By investing in public services that make Ohio’s workforce healthier and more competitive, our economy is strengthened and Ohio thrives, said Gayle Channing Tenenbaum, co-chair of Advocates for Ohio’s Future.

Tenenbaum claims Medicaid expansion will bring 30,000 new health care jobs to the state of Ohio by 2022.

His spending blueprint also increases funding to primary and secondary education by $1.3 billion and caps tuition increases at public universities at two percent per year.

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