The Governor released his long anticipated budget on January 30th. As expected it included more income tax cuts, with increases to sales taxes to pay for it. It also included increases in tax on alcohol, smoking and a range of services. The next result of this tax plan will be the continued reduction in taxes for wealthier Ohioans, while the rest of us pay more.
On the K-12 front, the news is decidedly mixed. According to budget documents:
Primary and Secondary Education recommended all funds appropriations total $11.2 billion (1.2% above FY 2017 spending levels) and $11.4 billion in FY 2019 (1.4% above FY 2018). Recommended GRF appropriations total $8.1 billion in FY 2018 and $8.2 billion in FY 2019.
As we noted in our budget update #3, this means a cut in real terms due to inflation being around 2.1 percent. The budget also includes an erosion to the guarantee, with Districts that have lost students facing cuts. According to the Dispatch 1 in 2 districts might see these cuts
Under the plan, a district's funds would be cut by an amount equal to its population loss over 5 percent. So if enrollment dropped 6.5 percent over five years, it would lose 1.5 percent in 2018 and then get the same amount in 2019. Cuts would be capped at 5 percent.
It's not yet clear exactly how enrollment is calculated - specific district numbers are not ready yet - but based on state data, 351 of Ohio's 610 districts lost more than 5 percent of their students from 2011-16.
Reports suggest, as we predicted, the Governor's budget, like previous budgets is headed for the trash can. Let's hope.