During the final week of June, the end of the last fiscal year, a conference committee of the Ohio House and Senate agreed upon a version of the biennial state operating budget, the spending plan for the state for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. As a part of the typical budget process, Governor Kasich considered the legislation, made more than forty line-item vetoes, and signed the bill. In a historic and unprecedented effort, the Ohio House made a stand and voted to override 11 of the governor’s vetoes. The last time there were multiple overrides of a governor’s vetoes was in 1977. The veto process now moves on to the Senate for consideration. There may still be additional override efforts to come; at least that is what I hope.
 
I played an important role in assembling the original and final products in the process. As a member of the House Finance Committee and a subcommittee chair for Agriculture, Development and Natural Resources, I sought to ensure the efficient and successful operation of our state government while addressing the most pressing issues Ohioans face on a daily basis. We had to contend with a $1 billion shortfall in terms of revenue and proposed spending in the governor’s budget proposal. We’ve continued our commitment to fiscal responsibility—even during a tough budget cycle while demands have increased—which required some difficult choices.
 
We were still able to devote funds towards some of our greatest priorities, like the opioid epidemic and schools. Most schools throughout my district have seen a tremendous surge in school revenue as a result of collections from property taxes. We also ensured that a majority of schools would not lose state funding over the next two years and directed $180 million in new money to combat drug abuse and the addiction crisis through coordinated care. In addition to those investments, we promoted a stable and simplified tax structure, expanded options regarding the cost of higher education, and strengthened accountability and transparency in Medicaid.


Several of the veto overrides dealt with Medicaid and reasserting the legislature’s authority over eligibility, work requirements, and transparency. One key override in the area of oil and gas dealt with the governor’s refusal to appoint members to the Ohio Oil and Gas Leasing Commission that was created by House Bill 133 in 2011. We overrode his veto, and depending on what the Senate does, this would enable our state to access its minerals, while also freeing up private property minerals owned by landowners adjacent to our state-owned properties.
 
While the bulk of the budget bill has been signed and confirmed, our veto overrides still await deliberation and confirmation by the Ohio Senate. Regardless of this decision, the overall budget is evidence of restrained spending during a period of lower than expected revenue, a product of determination and, occasionally, cooperation between the legislature and the administration. I’m confident that this conservative budget will set Ohio up for future success while meeting the needs of individuals and families.

 
 
 
  
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