Thursday, January 25, 2001

Taft's initiatives

Highlights of Gov. Bob Taft's proposals from his State of the State speech

Primary/secondary education

        • An increase in minimum per-pupil funding by $510 million over the next two years, with a goal of bringing the state's commitment from the current $4,294 to $5,484 for each student in five years. The amount is based on spending levels in high-performing public school districts.

        • A $76.6 million increase in the state's share of special education spending and related costs.

        • A $28.5 million expansion of the OhioReads program, which uses volunteers to help children read at grade level by fourth grade.

        • An additional $41.7 million for reimbursements to districts to cover transportation costs.

        • A $42 million expansion of all-day kindergarten in an additional 50 districts to serve 12,000 more children.

        • Provide almost $80 million for teacher training over the next two years, expand Summer Institutes for Reading Intervention, and provide mentors for entry-year teachers.

        • Adopt 32 recommendations of his Governor's Commission for Student Success. The panel called for a new third-grade reading guarantee, a revamped proficiency test schedule and the reporting of students' academic performance by race, ethnicity, gender and economic background, among other factors.

Higher education

        • Expand Ohio Instructional Grants.

        • Provide more money to community and technical colleges and university branch campuses. During the next two years, the schools will freeze tuition.

        • Expand Jobs Challenge funding to enable two-year campuses to provide more training courses.


        • Provide $40 million for research and development in bio, nano and information technology. A new Biomedical Facilities Fund will provide $12 million to leading research institutions.

        • Proposed that new high-tech firms be exempt from a net-worth tax during their first three years of operation.

        • Offering a Jobs Retention Tax Credit for companies that invest at least $200 million in Ohio facilities and retain at least 1,000 jobs.

Prescription drugs

        • Will propose legislation to allow the state to select a prescription drug discount program for all Ohio's seniors and make it available through the Golden Buckeye Card.

Heating aid

        • A one-time home-heating credit of up to $250 for low-income families. For family of four, income cannot exceed $34,056 a year.

        • Instructed chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to issue a 60-day moratorium on home-heating disconnections to protect those customers participating in a company payment plan.

        • Asked Ohio's natural gas companies to contribute at least $5 million to help low-income customers pay heating costs.

Illegal drugs

        • Crack down on the spread of illegal drug laboratories producing methamphetamines.

Steel industry

        • Convene special meeting of the Ohio Steel Council to help find ways to help the state's steel industry.

State of the State
Excerpts of the State of the State address delivered Wednesday by Gov. Bob Taft.
Grants will help with heating bills
Plan skips funding fix for schools, some say
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