Apr. 15—COLUMBUS — State Representative Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) announced the state budget proposal, which was accepted by the House Finance Committee yesterday in a substitute bill containing the House GOP's version of the new two-year state budget.
According to a news release provided by Edwards' office, the proposal includes measures that would directly benefit southeastern Ohio, a priority of Edwards, including the following:
—An allocation of $2,000,000 to Bailey's Bike Trail, a trail system that will connect 88 miles of trails across the Appalachian foothills of Southeast Ohio.
—An allocation of $10,000,000 each fiscal year for Foundation for Appalachian Ohio.
—$2,000 each fiscal year for iBelieve, a foundation that works to provide opportunities for Appalachian youth to develop twenty-first century skills, including leadership, communication and problem-solving for college access and retention.
—An addition of $8,000,000 for the Rural Industrial Park Loan program, taking the total in the proposed budget to $18 million.
—$750,000 each fiscal year for Appalachian Children's Coalition to address systematic challenges children face in Southeast Ohio.
—$1,175,000 each fiscal year for Children's Hunger Alliance to assist with meal sponsorship, early child care programs, child care, consultations and nutrition education, school district nutrition programs, after school nutrition programs and summer nutrition programs.
"I am proud to see some of my proposed amendments be included in the budget substitute bill," said Edwards. "It is extremely important to me to stand up and fight for Appalachian Ohio and the incredible people who encompass it. So many years have gone by without support being thrown our way, and I am pleased to be a voice for Southeastern Ohio and bring in support here where it's needed."
The measure also includes a new school funding plan and tax relief, in addition on COVID-19 relief aid and an expansion on legislative oversight of state spending. The legislation also includes a two percent personal income tax rate cut, which will reduce taxes approximately $380 million over the biennium. Coupled with recently passed legislation (Senate Bill 18) conforming Ohio's tax code with federal law, the House is providing a nearly $500 million in personal income tax relief this biennium.
Hearings on the substitute bill will be held this week. Additional changes are expected before a final vote, which is expected next week.
State Representative Jay Edwards is serving his third term in the Ohio House of Representatives. He represents the 94th House District, which includes Athens, Meigs, Washington and Vinton Counties.
Information provided by the office of State Rep. Jay Edwards.