How Ohio's new state budget affects you

2019-07-21 | The Columbus Dispatch

July 21--In a $69.8 billion state budget stretching 2,600 pages, there ought to be a little something for all of us, right?

Well, check out these goodies just for you, if you ...

Need a little extra cash: You are getting a 4% state income tax cut, amounting to $25 a year for an individual with a taxable income of $41,000 and $50 annually for a family of four making $73,000. And if you're among "the working poor," you caught a break with elimination of the two lowest tax brackets -- meaning those earning less than $21,750 a year will pay no state income taxes.

Get the news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our politics newsletterAre a dual threat of the "non-jockular" persuasion: Ohio school districts now may allow students to use show choir to fulfill physical education requirements.

Believe Ohio schools should get more money: Traditional public schools are getting funding increases of 3.9% and 1.7% in the next two years. Charter schools are getting 2.3% and 1%.

Hang out in tree stands: Annual resident permits for adults to hunt deer and wild turkey in Ohio now will cost $30, an increase of $7. For youths, though, the increase is only $3.50, for a total annual cost of $15. Out-of-state youths are getting a $59 break for hunting permits and will pay $15 as well, but out-of-state adults will pay $37 for a permit to hunt wild turkey.

Believe the fallen will be resurrected: Places of worship now are authorized to obtain, and use, naloxone to revive those who overdose on opioids.

Like a long hike: An additional $47 million will be spent to expand state parks, notably by buying more reclaimed strip-mining land for Jesse Owens State Park and Wildlife Area in Morgan County.

Breed dogs: Expectant female dogs, nursing female dogs and puppies younger than 12 weeks do not need an opportunity to safely go outside when kept by high-volume dog breeders.

Get a hankering to launch a live theater production: A new state tax credit is set up just like the current one for movies from $40 million set aside by the state.

Endorse both your ballot and (green) beer: The presidential primary in 2020 is one week later than usual on March 17 -- St. Patrick's Day. Party responsibly. Vote even more responsibly.

Want to get rid of lead hazards in a dwelling built before 1978: Applications can be made to the state Department of Health for a nonrefundable income tax credit of up to $10,000; credits are capped statewide at $5 million.

Still want that sales tax exemption for bullion and coins: You'd better hurry, because it expires in October, saving the state about $3.6 million in fiscal 2020 and $5.6 million in fiscal 2021.

Aim to be ready when Skynet becomes self-aware: Requires schools to accept one unit of computer coding instruction toward meeting a foreign-language requirement for high school graduation.

Fish: Annual license fees for an Ohio resident rise to $24, a $6 increase. A one-day license costs $13, up from $10.

Want to buy another race track or casino: Collect as many as you want; the prohibition against owning more than two horse-racing facilities or more than two casinos was repealed.

Long for the old Hocking Hills dining lodge: Work to rebuild the state park landmark that was destroyed by fire in late 2016 will begin before the insurance settlement is in hand. Insurance proceeds are to cover more than half the $31 million cost of the project up the road from Old Man's Cave. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2020.

Hope to make some green from grass: Public accountants won't be subject to professional discipline simply because they provide accounting services to people with medical marijuana licenses.

Plan to keep slicing $1 off your state income tax liability ($2 for couples) by donating to Ohio political parties: You're out of luck; lawmakers ended the tax check-off, which amounted to $90,000 a year.

Are moving from the back of the classroom to the front: Raises the minimum salary for teachers with a bachelor's degree from $20,000 to $30,000 and adjusts other steps in the salary ladder for teachers. The average teacher in a traditional Ohio public district makes $58,266.

Seek a fireworks license: Extends a general moratorium on new fireworks wholesaler and manufacturing licenses to the end of 2020.

Count on lighting one up to celebrate officially becoming an adult: The legal age becomes 21 in mid-October to receive or buy cigarettes, other tobacco products including vaping, alternative nicotine products, or papers used to roll cigarettes. The state will lose about $23 million a year in sales and cigarette taxes from raising the age to legally use tobacco from 18.

Work in Columbus' hot real estate market: Real estate broker and salesperson licenses move from an annual renewal to a three-year cycle. Renewal fees jump from about $180 over three years for a broker to $243; a salesperson would pay $182, up from $135. Application, transfer, reactivation and other fees also will increase.

Catch senioritis: Reduces the number of end-of-course tests for high school students from seven to five, eliminating exams in geometry and English.

Crush (and ferment) your own grapes: Exempts small wineries from the retail food establishment law and eliminates its license fee.

Need college aid, and aid in finding it: State education officials must create a program, with about $75,000 a year, to give grants to school districts and educational service centers so they can help high school seniors complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Like to see athletes go for gold: Appropriates $100,000 in each year for the Special Olympics.

Want to invest in an area designated as an Opportunity Zone: A 10% income tax credit up to $1 million is now available from a state pot of $50 million.

Make a living with the dead: License fees to operate crematories, embalming facilities and funeral homes are increasing by $50.

Value the most important meal of the day: High-poverty school districts must offer breakfast to all enrolled students during the school day. The program would be phased in over three years. Most of the 1,500-some schools affected already serve breakfast.

Know someone who has dementia: Expands the topics covered in training materials for health and social service workers to include other types of dementia, not just Alzheimer's disease.

Think both the public and private schools in your area should be protected: Local school boards can put a tax levy on the ballot for school safety and security, and the revenue now can be shared by both types of schools.

Make your own syrup: Exempts processors of any kind of tree syrup from specified laws concerning food retail and processing establishments. Before, only maple syrup processors had all the fun.

Buy or sell a home, or care about problems with affordable housing and homelessness: The $28 total fee paid for recording a document with the county recorder will increase to $34. That fee is split evenly between the county and the state, with the state portion being used for homelessness and affordable-housing grants.

Play hooky (too much): Medical excused absences for schoolchildren no longer count against the threshold that triggers a required notice under state law.

Worry about your doctor keeping up-to-date: Physicians will need only 50 hours of continuing education -- instead of 100 -- to renew their licenses every two years.

Prepare for the worst: Extends to Sept. 15, 2020, a moratorium on new building-code requirements for storm shelters -- which can cost up to $1 million -- in schools built, altered or repaired using state money.

Seek to learn more about why women are dying in pregnancy: Establishes a Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review Board in the state Department of Health.

Keep an eye on e-schools: Requires internet- and computer-based community schools to submit reports that include classroom size, student-teacher ratios, the number of student-teacher meetings conducted in-person and via video conference, and other details. The state Department of Education also must study a new funding system for e-schools by the end of 2019.

Hate old computers: Establishes a fund designed to modernize the state's information technology management and investment practices.

Think your area needs a new jail: Permits county commissioners to seek voter approval for an additional 0.5% sales tax for "constructing, acquiring, equipping or repairing detention facilities."

Need classrooms -- and fast -- for your non-public school: Cuts the required time for school districts to offer unused buildings for sale or lease to non-public schools from two years to one.

Decide to defend the Darby or Kokosing: The state Department of Natural Resources now is authorized to accept donations to help protect scenic rivers.

Need a lift to school: Prohibits school districts from cutting off busing for students in the middle of the school year.

Like waiting in line to vote: The minimum number of poll workers can drop from four to two at multi-precinct locations (that use electronic poll books) by a vote of three of the four members of a county board of elections, a move sparked by the increase in early voting.

Prefer the other school district in your township: Residents of townships that are divided among school districts can petition, via a ballot measure, for a transfer of territory to an adjacent district.

Worry that fresh water is evaporating: Sets aside $250,000 a year to study the network of aquifers in Ohio north of the Maumee River.

Are a counselor, social worker or marriage and family therapist: Eliminates a requirement to prominently display a counseling, social work or therapy license in a particular place or manner.

Like affordable prescription drugs: Creates the Prescription Drug Transparency and Affordability Advisory Council, which will work on making prescription drugs more affordable and accessible.

Dislike accounting errors: Permits the director of the Office of Budget and Management to correct accounting errors made by the staff.

Appreciate word games: A $1.50 fee charged by BMV offices to laminate driver's licenses (which have not been laminated for the past year) is no more. Registrars now instead will conveniently charge you $1.50 for reviewing your ID documents.

Want to make or sell a switchblade or gravity knife: Too bad, because a provision that would have made it legal did not make the final budget. Same for a proposal that would have allowed you to carry knives, razors and cutting instruments not used as weapons; if you do so, it can still be construed as carrying a concealed deadly weapon (unless pending legislation legalizing it is passed).

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