State budget includes tax savings, funding for ag priorities

The state’s main operating budget for fiscal years 2024 and 2025 was passed by the Ohio Legislature Friday, June 30, just before the constitutional deadline.

Of importance to Ohio Farm Bureau members, the budget includes major savings on income taxes and the Commercial Activity Tax, or CAT.

The legislation reduces the number of income tax brackets for individuals. Phased in over the biennium, the marginal rates will be 2.75% on income over $26,050 and 3.5% on income over $100,000. Ohioans making less $26,050 will pay no income tax.

The new state budget also eliminates the Commercial Activity Tax for 90% of Ohio businesses, which will pay no taxes on the first $3 million of gross receipts in tax year 2024 and will pay no taxes on the first $6 million of gross receipts in tax year 2025.

“Farm Bureau applauds the Ohio House and Senate for working on provisions in this budget to help alleviate tax implications for our members,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “Reducing these tax burdens will have a major benefit for Ohio agribusinesses, the people that they employ and will put more money in the pockets of all hard working Ohioans.”

Thanks to the work of Ohio Farm Bureau members through the organization’s Action Alert process, the budget will avert the potential negative impacts of a proposed property tax policy change that would have resulted in a shift of local property tax burden to agriculture ratepayers. With the removal of that provision and understanding the complications of Ohio’s property tax code, the state budget also creates a Property Tax Review Committee to look at long-term solutions for CAUV and residential property tax values. 

“Ohio Farm Bureau looks forward to being heavily involved in the process of finding a workable fix that will bring more clarity and certainty to the tax valuation system for property owners of all types,” Sharp said.

On the water quality front, the state will continue its strong commitment to the H2Ohio initiative, increasing Ohio Department of Agriculture funding for the program from the current level of $55.3 million to $60.7 million. These funds will advance already substantial efforts being implemented by farmers in northwest Ohio to protect soil health and clean water.

“After early success of the program that already involves thousands of farmers using best practices for nutrient management on nearly 2 million acres, keeping the momentum of H2Ohio was very important to our members,” Sharp said. “The steady funding for water quality in the state budget is proof that Governor DeWine and lawmakers are fully committed to work with farmers and other stakeholders to ensure clean water for all Ohioans.”

Lawmakers also made a considerable investment in the Ohio Expo Center and Ohio State Fair by funding $190 million for the implementation of the Expo 2050 Master Plan. The project, announced by DeWine late last year, includes a new overall organization of the Ohio Expo Center property with the renovation, modernization or demolition of several buildings; the addition of new exhibition facilities, parking garages, and other areas to enhance the guest experience; and improved access between the Ohio Expo Center and the nearby Ohio History Connection.

Other items of interest to Ohio Farm Bureau members:

  • $14 million for the Ohio Meat Processing Grant Program.
  • $10 million for Ohio State University’s Multi-Species Animal Learning Center (MALC).
  • $4.7 million in funding for county and independent fairs.
  • Increases in funding for Ohio State University Extension and Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. 
  • Modest increases in funding for Ohio Department of Agriculture inspection programs.
  • Up to $200 million earmarked to complete qualifying bridge projects to replace at least one bridge in each rural county, with preference given to bridges that have already had a general appraisal and that have been identified by either ODOT or the county engineer as requiring replacement.

The budget now heads to Governor DeWine’s desk for approval.

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