Ohio Budget Senate Version

Ohio’s budget Senate version

Ohio Budget Senate VersionThey didn’t address Common Core, labor reform or Medicaid Expansion, but they have a plan to spend a whole lot of our money.

The Ohio Senate passed their version of the budget yesterday. They now move into conference committee with the House to work out the differences. Then it moves to Governor Kasich’s desk where he does have a line item veto. The budget is a very important process because almost everything done in the Ohio General Assembly happens during this budgeting process….  It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.

Here in Ohio we have a pesky provision in the Constitution that says all bills must be single issue bills. Any bill brought to the floor must be about one thing and one thing only. That is a good thing. We don’t have amendments to our bills. They are what they say they are, no surprises.

Government always finds a way to make more laws to limit our freedom. The lawmakers in Columbus found a way to get their pet projects into law through the budget process.

Every two years Ohio writes its budget. Anything that is touched in anyway by money…which is everything…can be changed in the budget. This session they have been dealing with issues like abortion, charter schools, license plates, who gets what services through Medicaid, the list of pet projects and pork is endless.

It happens every two years, like a tornado touches down on Columbus. Everyone wants their money. The school districts don’t want their funding cut. The police don’t want their funding cut. The hospitals don’t want their funding cut.

The only group of people that don’t have lobbyists in Columbus are the most important group in the state…us, the tax payers. The politicians, the people that we send to Columbus to represent us are supposed to be our advocates. We send them there to make sure our money is spent well and our state is run efficiently. There are a few representatives standing on the side of the tax payers, but not enough.

We have a super majority of Republicans in the Senate.  We have a super majority of Republicans in the Ohio House. We have what I am told is a Republican Governor.

What does a budget written by the Republicans in Ohio look like? There are some good things, but not near enough good things.

We all get a tax cut. 6.3% across the board. I read in one report that would mean $13 coming back your way #rollinginit.

Small business also gets a tax cut. Business is exempt for the first $250,000 in income and imposes a 3 percent flat tax on small business income above that in the Senate plan

There are no severance taxes in this budget, which is a win. It is crazy to tax an emerging industry that is in a part of Ohio that needs growth and jobs. Tax it if you want to kill it. We don’t want to kill the oil and gas industry in Eastern Ohio.

That’s about it on the good stuff. Sen. Kris Jordan, R-Powell, was the lone Republican “no” vote. He should be applauded for standing firm on the principle of fiscal responsibility.

Senator Sandra Williams, was the lone Democrat “yes” vote. Republican leadership bent over backwards to secure Senator Williams yes vote so they could call the budget ‘bipartisan’.  Great reporting on this from Jeremy Pelzer from the Northeast Ohio Media Group, ‘Cleveland Senator stops proposed limits on abortion clinics, local hiring quotas’.

The Republicans “erased budget language that could have threatened the only remaining abortion clinics in Cincinnati, Dayton, and Toledo. That provision would have only allowed abortion clinics to enter into a required ambulatory transfer agreement with a local, private hospital if the hospital was within 30 miles of the clinic,” in exchange for Williams vote.

They also removed a budget clause that would have stopped Cleveland’s ‘Fannie Lewis’ law, which requires 20% of city construction work to be done by residents of Cleveland.  She got other goodies for her vote; $1 million for Cuyahoga food stamp program, a veterans license plate, $200,000 for a senior housing development called Luke’s Manor.

More budget details from Jim Siegel and the Columbus Dispatch, ‘With Senate budget done, conferees get to work’.

  • Added $130 million in funding for state universities and, in turn, is requiring a two-year freeze on tuition and fees. requiring universities to develop plans to reduce overall college costs by 5 percent,
  • The Senate budget restored funding for Medicaid coverage for pregnant women up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level and for breast- and cervical-cancer screenings.
  • Rolled back a House plan to require most Medicaid recipients to contribute to a health-savings account.
  • 5 percent annual pay raises for judges and local elected officials
  • Budget would allow major telephone companies to withdraw basic landline service to customers.

The Ohio Senate’s version of the budget goes into conference with the Ohio House. From there it heads to Governor Kasich’s desk, where he can line item veto. The budget must be finished by July 1st.

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