Ohio governor signs budget including tax cut, anti-abortion provision

CLEVELAND Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:08pm EDT

Ohio Governor John Kasich speaks during the CERAWEEK global energy conference in Houston March 7, 2012. REUTERS/Donna W. Carson

Ohio Governor John Kasich speaks during the CERAWEEK global energy conference in Houston March 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Donna W. Carson

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CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Ohio's governor signed a two-year, $62 billion state budget on Sunday that seeks to spur economic growth with a reduction in personal income taxes and includes a provision that critics say will tighten restrictions on abortions in the state.

The budget, which was passed by a Republican-majority state legislature, includes a $2.6 billion reduction in personal income taxes which will be gradually lowered by a total of 10 percent over three years.

The tax cuts will be offset in part by an increase in the state sales tax rate to 5.75 percent from 5.5 percent.

The budget also includes a 50 percent tax break for small-business owners on their first $250,000 of income filed on personal tax filings.

Republican Governor John Kasich also left in place a controversial abortion provision added to the proposed budget bill at the last minute.

The provision effectively strips funding from Planned Parenthood, blocks public hospitals from arranging transfer agreements with abortion clinics and requires abortion providers to provide ultra sounds on women seeking abortions.

It also allows public funding for rape crisis clinics to be suspended if they counsel victims on abortion options.

Ohio has 12 clinics that perform abortions and opponents of the law say the new regulations could force many clinics to close.

"Today Governor Kasich enacted measures that prescribe medically unnecessary procedures, force doctors to mislead their patients and will force quality medical centers to close," said Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.

Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, praised Kasich's decision. "Our motivation for pushing the law was so that state tax dollars are not used to fund abortions," he said.

Ohio joins several other states, including Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas, where anti-abortion activists have focused their efforts pushing for new state restrictions on the procedure.

The budget will go into effect on Monday.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer, Editing by Kevin Gray and Christopher Wilson)

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Comments (5)
Whipsplash wrote:
“Our motivation for pushing the law was so that state tax dollars are not used to fund abortions,”
Repblicans don’t want to fund abortions or birth control. Their goal seems to be to make life as miserable for woman as possible.
They really need to pull their heads out of the place the sun don’t shine.

Jul 01, 2013 2:11am EDT  --  Report as abuse
marinevet69 wrote:
Senior citizens like myself are adversely affected by this budget. The tax cut gives us nothing while we pay higher sales taxes on our purchases.

Jul 01, 2013 8:34am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Tuscar wrote:
Well done Kasich, you have all but guaranteed a loss in 2014.

When your own party slams something in last minute, blocks debate on it, tries to keep it quiet, and you still get tens of thousands of protestors contacting you throughout the weekend, perhaps you should send that portion of the “budget” back to the legislator to properly consider it, regardless of your personal preferences on the subject.

Jul 01, 2013 10:25am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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