Bill to give tax deduction for college expenses introduced by bipartisan Ohio House members

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    Two bipartisan Ohio House members introduced legislation Monday that would allow individuals to deduct up to $4,000 per year from their Ohio income taxes for college-related expenses, the two announced in a news release.

    State Reps. John Rogers, D-Mentor-On-The-Lake, and Gary Scherer, R-Circleville, announced the introduction of the “Blair Deduction,” calling it the most recent iteration of legislation that was originally co-authored by Rogers and the late state Rep. Terry Blair, a Republican from the Dayton area who died in 2014. (Correction: an earlier version of this story mistakenly listed Scherer’s hometown as Clintonville. It is not. His hometown is Circleville. We regret the error.)

    “In today’s economy, students are increasingly having to weigh the benefits of furthering their education against the possibility of incurring insurmountable debt,” Rogers said. “The intent of this legislation recognizes the significant personal investment being made by so many, while also ensuring that an educated and talented workforce can be found here in Ohio – something essential to helping Ohio’s future economic growth and vitality.

    Upon graduation from a post-secondary certificate or degreed program, an individual would be able to use the total net out of pocket cost of their qualified higher education expenses as the basis for an annual deduction of up to $4000 per year, the release said.

    This legislative proposal mirrors the deduction Ohio families are currently eligible to receive when they contribute to the State’s 529 College Savings Plans in an effort to save for an education beyond high school, it said. Qualified higher education expenses reportedly include tuition, fees, books, supplies, equipment, room and board and necessary special needs services.

    “I am happy to join Rep. Rogers on this bill that he has worked on for several years and originally with the great late Terry Blair,” Scherer said.

    The “Blair Deduction” legislation now awaits referral to a House Committee.

    David C. DeWitt
    David C. DeWitt is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years experience covering Ohio politics and policy. He has worked for the National Journal, The New York Observer, The Athens NEWS and covering topics such as education, health care, crime and courts, poverty, government, business, labor, energy, environment and social issues. His work has also appeared in Government Executive, the Columbus Dispatch, Girlfriends magazine, Bleacher Report and the Ashtabula Star Beacon, among others.