Governor’s Budget Contains Tax Cuts, Controversy

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CLEVELAND - Governor John Kasich and his team touted tax cuts in the state's new two-year, $62 billion budget, while trying to deflect criticism of three abortion restrictions inserted at the 11th hour by lawmakers.

"The 10% tax cut is across the board for all Ohioans who pay taxes," said Lt. Governor Mary Taylor.

That tax cut, along with a cut on small business taxes, is the centerpiece of the budget Kasich hopes will help propel him to re-election.

Democrats panned the increase in the state sales tax that will help pay for the income tax cut, saying a sales tax hits the middle class hard, while an income tax cut mostly benefits the wealthy.

But the biggest controversy was over the abortion restrictions, particularly one known as the "fetal heartbeat" provision.

It would mandate that doctors tell women, who may be considering an abortion, if an external ultrasound detects a fetal heartbeat.

Planned Parenthood criticized the measure as coming between doctors and their patients.

"If they're writing a script for an abortion doctor," asked Celeste Ribbins with Planned Parenthood, "What's to stop them from writing a script for general practitioners?"

The budget will likely be the blueprint that Kasich will run on; while his likely opponent, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, will likely attack the budget's priorities and its new restrictions on abortions.

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