The state’s main operating budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 was signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine after being passed by the Ohio Legislature July 17, two and a half weeks later than its June 30 deadline.
“Farm Bureau applauds the Ohio House and Senate for including two of our highest priority issues, preservation of the business income deduction and a collaborative plan to address water quality challenges through Gov. DeWine’s H2Ohio Initiative, in the state’s operating budget,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “Farm Bureau also appreciates the funding increases for our partners at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Extension Services, and Soil and Water Conservation Districts, all of whom deliver critical information to our farmers regarding best practices.”
The legislature allocated $172 million in funding for H2Ohio for this budget cycle through the use of budget surpluses. Funding will be divided between the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to support water quality improvement projects. Long-term funding is still being addressed in a stand alone bill.
“The governor’s approach to water quality is refreshing for Ohio agriculture. The H2Ohio initiative and its extensive resources shows an understanding of the complexities that come with this issue,” Sharp said. “This funding being included in the state budget is a great example of how this administration and legislators are fully committed to work with farmers throughout the state toward the common goal of clean water.”
Other items of interest to Ohio Farm Bureau members:
- Previous versions of the budget contained a reduction to the business income deduction (BID), which exempts the first $250,000 of business income for a pass-through entity and levies a flat tax rate of 3% after that $250,000 threshold. Reducing the BID would have raised taxes on small businesses by $1 billion, but due to hundreds of emails from members of business organizations such as Farm Bureau to their legislators, the BID was restored to current law. Ohio Farm Bureau testified on this issue, sent several action alerts to members, and supported the final version.
- The budget also contains language that expands the defense for agriculture in a nuisance suit to anyone enrolled in CAUV. OFBF supported this provision.
- OFBF also advocated for increased funding to Meat Inspection and Food Safety, which both received those increases as did the Ohio Proud program.
The graduation requirements for high school students have been raised to increase academic rigor in the standards to better prepare students for the workforce. OFBF is part of a larger business coalition that advocated for these graduation requirements.
As details are released about Ohio’s new two-year, $69 billion budget, Ohioans will be hearing a lot about a 4% state income tax cut, 21 being the new age to buy tobacco or vaping products and a new presidential primary date. However, there are significant items in the budget pertaining to agriculture. Ty Higgins, Ohio Farm Bureau director of media relations, gets those details from staff policy experts Tony Seegers and Jenna Beadle and legal counsel Leah Curtis.