On May 5 the Ohio House of Representatives approved a budget that will cover the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years. The $112 billion budget will allegedly close the projected $8 billion budget gap without raising taxes and includes complete repeal of the Ohio estate tax for deaths occurring on or after July 1, 2013. The vote was along party lines with 59 Republicans voting in favor of the budget and 40 Democrats voting against it.
"This is a smart, fiscally sustainable budget that not only addresses our current economic crisis, but that also works to avoid the possibility of future crises down the road," said state Rep. Ron Amstutz, R-3, chairman of the House finance and Appropriations Committee.
On the other hand, first term Rep. Sean J. O'Brien, D-65, stated: "Finally in Ohio we are beginning to see unemployment rates decreasing, state revenues exceeding previous estimates, and business expansion. It is unfortunate that this budget proposal does nothing to further capitalize on our state's economic recovery. This budget increases state spending by $5 billion dollars yet calls for devastating cuts to schools, local communities, and services provided to our state's most vulnerable populations. It passes the buck to middle class families and will result in layoffs for firefighter, educators, and police offices."
House Bill 153 now moves on to the Republican-controlled Ohio Senate for consideration.