WYSO

State Budget

As expected, the Republican dominated Senate passed its budget in a marathon seven hour session. But as Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports, minority Democrats did all they could to get their concerns heard before Republicans passed the bill.

Food banks might lose the money that House lawmakers put in their version of the budget. The Senate’s changes to the budget plan that was voted out of committee today/yesterday do not include a House provision to add 2 million dollars into the state’s food banks, and a Democratic amendment to do that was rejected. Lisa Hamler Fugitt of the Ohio Association of Food Banks says she’s disappointed that more funding for food banks was out of the Senate version of the budget, while changes to the state’s exotic animals law stayed in.

Majority Republicans in the Ohio Senate say their state budget education proposal spreads more money to more school districts.

Senate President Keith Faber says the plan increases state aid to schools in the two-year budget by more than $717 million compared to the current budget, which ends June 30.

Faber said Thursday the money stems from expected adjustments to state revenue and Medicaid caseload projections.

The GOP-controlled Senate's proposal spends almost $142 million more to fund schools compared to the House-passed version of the spending bill.

The Ohio Senate has produced a bill outlining some of the changes it is making to the proposed two year state budget. Ohio Senators have removed from the state budget a proposal forcing universities to offer in state tuition to out of state students who request the documents necessary to vote in Ohio. The Senate bill also removes spider monkeys from the list of exotic animals to be regulated by the state. But Governor Kasich’s plan to expand Medicaid expansion, which was removed in the house version of the budget, hasn’t been added back into the senate plan.

Some conservative Ohio lawmakers and some faith leaders who generally support conservative causes want to put millions of additional dollars into more preschool for at risk children, something a lot of Democrats have championed in the past, and the push is on at the Ohio Statehouse to get more money for early childhood education.

Early childhood education may get a boost in the state budget. A group of lawmakers are meeting today to discuss adding a voucher program that will help eligible children attend private preschools. The Education Finance Subcommittee will be hearing testimony from local educators, business people and community leaders. There are 130,000 children in Ohio eligible to attend government funded preschool programs. Fewer than half of them receive preschool services.  

The Ohio house passed its version of the state budget last week, stripping Governor Kasich's proposal to expand medicaid and proposing an across-the-board income tax cut. Now the Senate makes its changes. Bill Cohen and Jo Ingles join Emily McCord to talk about their plans.

It looks like Medicaid expansion won’t likely be part of the proposed two year state budget that will come out of the Ohio Senate.

Governor John Kasich, Business leaders and even Democrats want Medicaid expansion in the Ohio Budget.  But Republican Ohio Senate President Keith Faber says that’s unlikely.

"You need two chambers to move a bill and the house has indicated they simply don’t have the votes to get Medicaid expansion done in the budget," says Faber.  "Therefore I do not believe Medicaid expansion is on the table as it relates to this legislation in the budget."

The House has approved its version of the budget, and now the Senate will make its changes. One idea that’s been suggested by Senate President Keith Faber is to replace the House’s 7% income tax cut for all Ohioans with a 50% income tax cut to small businesses, which had been in Gov. John Kasich’s budget.

A state budget that gives schools half the innovation money sought by the governor, scraps his plans to expand Medicaid and sends Planned Parenthood to the back of the line for public family planning dollars is expected to advance a step in the Ohio House.

The House Finance and Appropriations Committee is expected to make additional changes before it votes on the two-year, $61.4 billion measure Tuesday afternoon. A full House vote could come on Thursday.

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