COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — It was a big week at the Ohio Statehouse as lawmakers tried to come up with a deal to put taxpayers’ money to work.
The Ohio Senate is considering several changes to the House version of the budget. Speaker of the House Larry Householder sat down with NBC4’s Colleen Marshall to talk about the proposed changes and why the House made certain issues a priority.
“Probably the biggest difference is we put a lot of extra money into foster care and areas that we think are important,” Householder said.
He pointed to the state’s opioid crisis as one of the main reasons the state’s foster care system needs assistance.
“We’ve done an awful lot for the addicts but now we’ve also turned our attention, including with the addicts, to those who have been affected by the addicts and that’s young children, the elderly many of them were caregivers, grandparents,” he said.
Householder said state resources will help rebuild families and communities across the state through wraparound services for education and money for foster homes.
“We have 11,000 kids in the state of Ohio right now that are looking for foster parents. It’s the largest number we’ve ever had,” Householder said. “So many of these kids, it just tears your heart up because so many of these kids are raising themselves.”
Householder said House and the Senate also differ when it comes to the proposed state income tax.
“In the House plan, you can make up to $22,250 per year and not pay any state taxes but the upper brackets we reduced 6.6% across the board,” he explained. “And then we put a lot of money into those services and I think the Senate is looking at this as a possibility to try to expand the tax cuts and possibly do away with some of the spending that we had for the communities.”
School funding is also another point of contention. Householder said he’s most concerned with making sure there is equity among the school districts across the state when it comes to funding.
The Senate and the House also disagree on what Householder refers to as “special tax provisions,” like the film tax credit. Householder said he’s most concerned with how the state will spend money to make sure there is equity among school districts across the state.
“We did away with that on our side of the budget. The Senate wants to, my understanding is, to restore that,” he said.
The House also reduced the business income deduction, which allows anyone with an LLC to write off up to $250,000 at 0 tax of income, to $100,000.
Aside from his differences with the Senate, Householder said the usual partisan bickering voters have become accustomed to in the House is changing. Recently, Democrats and Republicans agreed on an energy plan and he plans on continuing the bipartisanship.
“We’re trying very hard. One of the things that I’ve been committed to not only as my first time as speaker in the early 2000s but also this time is to try to develop bipartisanship, gain trust and relationships across the aisle,” he said. “I truly believe that’s how you develop the best kind of legislation. “