Ohio state senate Republicans have presented their own version of the upcoming state budget, which holds some appealing details for Buckeye State residents. It includes a 5% personal income tax cut over two years and increases funding for public schools. It also changes the way in which state charter schools would be funded.

“If we want to talk about stimulus plans and what works and what doesn’t, an income tax cut will always be the best stimulus,” said Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima.

State Senate Republicans’ proposal also includes eliminating sales taxes paid by Ohio job employment agencies.

“It is a sustainable plan,” said Senate Finance Chairman Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, “which means, we can pay for this plan and the school districts can rely on it.”

Perhaps. But Ohioans can be forgiven for wanting a great deal of assurance about HOW lawmakers believe they can pay for this proposal, and for how long. For example, one of the cuts proposed is $200 million that was supposed to fund grants for expanding broadband service.

On that issue, Huffman seems remarkably unconcerned.

“People are anxious to spend money on something that everybody thinks is a good idea,” he said. “I think it’s a bad idea to just start spending without a plan.”

Meanwhile, having spent far too many years in school funding limbo, administrators across the state may be thinking “Here we go again,” if this proposal does, indeed, throw out the bipartisan school-funding plan approved earlier this year by the House as part of its budget proposal.

It appears there are good ideas to extract from state Senate Republicans’ proposal. In doing so, lawmakers must be very careful not to throw out the baby with the bath water by ignoring the good ideas that have already been presented.

— Marietta Times, June 3