Two Ohio state representatives have introduced a bipartisan bill to eliminate the state's marriage penalty tax.

State Reps. John Becker (R-Union Township) and David Leland (D-Columbus) introduced House Bill 333 on Thursday, which would allow married couples the option of filing separately on their state tax returns.

“Ohioans shouldn’t be forced to pay higher taxes just because they get married,” Leland, who introduced the same bill more than three decades ago, said in a written statement. “This bipartisan legislation will eliminate the Ohio marriage penalty and allow over two-and-a-half-million Ohioans to keep more of their hard-earned dollars.”

Ohio law currently requires an individual's state filing status match their federal filing status. To put that into perspective, a couple with both spouses working full-time making minimum wage currently pays a penalty of $159 annually, according to the Ohio Dept. of Taxation.

“In brief, the marriage penalty is simply the difference between the total income tax that a married couple will pay compared to two single people. Filing both federal and Ohio tax returns separate is often worse than filing both joint,” Becker said. “Ohio’s tax code is a lose-lose situation for married tax payers. This legislation fixes that.”

Ohio is one of just 16 states that currently has a marriage penalty tax. The two representatives say the bill will allow couples to choose the filing which suits them best, be it a separate or joint return.

The bill now awaits committee assignment for further consideration.