Later today, Governor Kasich is set to unveil his budget proposals for the two-year spending period that begins July 1, 2013. While no one knows what the plan will include, with a recovering economy and increased tax collections, none are expecting the level of severe cuts included in Kasich’s last budget, and many hope those cuts (among whose targets were local governments, prisons and schools) will be restored.
Others look to see whether the Governor will expand eligibility for the Medicaid program, a component of the Affordable Care Act that will provide healthcare coverage to low income Ohioans. The expansion is free for the budget’s duration – the federal government will pick up 100% of the cost for four years – but conservatives see it as an embrace of the dreaded ‘Obamacare.’
We want to see how the tax burden shifts as Kasich promises to reduce the income tax – from the wealthy to those least able to pay by moving from a progressive tax (income tax) to a regressive one (sales tax), and from state taxpayers to local taxpayers as local government cuts cause an increase in local levies statewide. We’ll also look to see how much of the permanent cut in the income tax is based on temporary – and possibly illusory – revenue from the extraction of oil and gas in Ohio’s shale.
We’ll be tuning in to the release today and will bring you details when we have them.
In the meantime, review our impressions of the school funding plan that was previewed last Thursday, and read the headlines from newspapers around the state about what to expect in today’s plan: