Today The Buckeye Institute issued a report, Senate Budget Holds the Line on Spending and Embraces Pro-Growth Reforms, analyzing the Ohio Senate's initial version of the state budget.
The Buckeye Institute President Robert Alt praised the meaningful free-market elements included in the Senate draft: "The proposed budget maintained significant project labor agreement reform and held the line by rejecting anti-growth tax hikes on the oil and gas industry, and on the commercial activities tax. These provisions are essential to encouraging growth in Ohio."
Overall, the Senate version:
Embraces pro-growth income tax cuts across all brackets;
Maintains House language that offers meaningful project labor agreement reform that will increase competition in and lower the cost of many public construction projects;
Rejects raising the severance tax on Ohio's oil and gas industry;
Moves spending closer to The Buckeye Institute's recommended 3% annual growth than other versions of the budget;
Takes incremental steps toward a more rational education funding system;
Adopts recommendations from The Buckeye Institute to eliminate several unnecessary boards and commissions.
Although there are many pro-growth elements in the budget, some areas could be improved. For example, the Senate version includes a counterproductive tobacco tax increase; removes useful health care reform tools such as the creation of a health care cost-transparency database from the House version; and weakens a stronger House reform to the state's Controlling Board.
"The Senate proposal is another good step in the budget process, but there is no room for backtracking on key elements such as project labor agreements reform or maintaining pro-growth tax rates on key Ohio industries like oil and gas," said Greg R. Lawson, report co-author and Statehouse Liaison for The Buckeye Institute.
Senate Budget Report
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The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions was founded in 1989 as an independent research and educational institution--a think tank--to formulate and promote free-market solutions for Ohio's most pressing public policy problems.