Governor Kasich signing the budget. Behind him (l to r) Sen. Bill Coley (R-Middletown), Sen. Scott Oelslager (R-Canton), Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina), Rep. Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster), Rep. Jeff McClain (R-Upper Sandusky) and OBM Director Tim Keen
After months of discussion and debate and several days of lingering questions, the state has a new two-year, $62 billion budget. The signing came with just hours to go before the new fiscal year.
The budget includes a gradual income tax cut over three years for everyone, a 50 percent income tax cut for small businesses, an increase in the state sales tax along with an expansion to digital downloads and magazine subscriptions, and some property tax changes. Gov. John Kasich said he was pleased with it, though it didn’t include his proposed Medicaid expansion.
Gov. John Kasich has vetoed a piece of the two-year budget that would bar the state's Medicaid program from covering the additional low-income residents allowed under the Affordable Care Act.
The Republican governor also vetoed 21 other provision in signing off on the $62 billion spending plan Sunday night.
Kasich's proposed budget had initially called for expanding Medicaid. But GOP leaders stripped the idea from the House version of the state spending plan in April. The House went even further, inserting a provision blocking the expansion.
After several long months and a very long day, the state budget is nearly finished. It includes income tax cuts of 8.5% the first year, 9% the second and 10% the third, with a 50% cut for small businesses, along with an increase in the state sales tax to 5.75% and some property tax changes. Republican Ron Amstutz chaired the conference committee.
“This is a very good package that’s being recommended to you,” said Amstutz.
A Republican-dominated legislative panel has passed a slew of changes to Ohio's budget, including a last-minute abortion regulation requiring doctors to provide written notice to pregnant women of a detectable fetal heartbeat.
The six-member conference committee moved the spending bill along party lines Tuesday night. The 4-2 vote sends the finalized budget bill to the floors of both legislative chambers, which are likely to take action Thursday.
Lawmakers face a Sunday deadline to pass the almost $62 billion, two-year spending bill.
An Ohio legislative panel is scheduled to put the finishing touches on the state budget after a Tuesday afternoon meeting.
The six-member conference committee working out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the spending blueprint planned a vote after the meeting.
Majority Republican leaders have already announced some tax changes expected to be included in the budget. Those include a gradual income tax reduction over three years, beginning with an 8.5-percent cut in the first year.