Ohio House Sends Budget Bill To Governor Kasich
Fiscally responsible plan focuses on funding Ohio's schools, fighting drug epidemic
 
 

COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today approved the conference committee report on Amended Substitute House Bill 49, the state operating budget. With a major focus on combating Ohio’s dangerous drug epidemic and ensuring that schools receive vital funding, the legislation provides support to areas most in need and keeps spending under the rate of inflation over the biennium. 


"Today, the House approved a responsible budget plan that prioritizes our state's greatest needs, such as fighting the drug crisis, funding schools and supporting our communities,” Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) said. “I want to commend Chairman Smith and the entire Finance Committee for their hard work, as well as thank President Obhof for his continued leadership and commitment to passing a smart, balanced budget. I look forward to working with Governor Kasich and my colleagues as we move to the final stage of the budget process."


“This bill provides Ohioans with a balanced budget that targets our state’s greatest threat, the opioid epidemic, with a new $180 million investment,” Chairman of the Finance Committee Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) said. “We have worked together with our colleagues in the Senate to put together a comprehensive plan that prevents drug use, while treating those who are addicted. This budget also prioritizes education and local capacity issues that are vitally important to Ohioans. I want to thank Speaker Rosenberger, President Obhof and my colleagues on the Finance Committee for their hard work and dedication to keeping our state moving in the right direction.”


COMBATING THE DRUG EPIDEMIC
As championed by the House through the Ohio HOPES (Heroin, Opioids, Prevention, Education and Safety) Agenda, the budget tackles the state’s drug epidemic head-on with funding totaling more than $180 million in new money. Investments focus on the areas of prevention, treatment, mental health care and workforce reintegration programs to ensure that communities across Ohio, both rural and urban, receive the support they need to educate young people, help those who are addicted and prevent overdose deaths.


PRIORITIZING SCHOOLS
Enhancing opportunities for all Ohioans is a central component of the state operating budget by increasing school funding by $154 million in FY’18 and $120 million in FY’ 19. The bill also increases per-pupil funding and rewards high-performing educational service centers.


LOWERING THE COST OF HIGHER EDUCATION
The bill promotes tuition guarantee programs to provide more cost consistency to students while also requiring colleges to study textbook expenses in order to ultimately reduce the cost of obtaining a college degree.


STRENGTHENING ACCOUNTABILITY WITHIN THE MEDICAID PROGRAM
House Bill 49 includes a provision that would make Ohio the first state to seek a federal waiver to freeze new enrollment to the Medicaid Group VIII expansion population while exempting the drug-addicted and mentally ill. Additionally, through a series of provisions, the budget strengthens accountability in the state’s Medicaid program by placing guardrails on future Medicaid Group VIII spending through the Controlling Board. The bill also returns Medicaid oversight to the General Assembly by directing the Department of Medicaid to seek a federal waiver to require a Group VIII Medicaid recipient to be one of the following: over 55, medically fragile, employed, in an education or workforce training program, or in a recovery program.


ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS IN THE BUDGET INCLUDE:


Simplifying the tax code
• Reduces from nine to seven the number of tax brackets in Ohio
• Removes tax changes from the executive budget proposal, including on sales, severance, tobacco and vapor, and commercial activity taxes


Modernizing the CAUV (Current Agricultural Use Value) formula
• Through various reforms to be phased in over a six-year period, the bill aims to offer property tax relief for farmers by reducing the taxable value of farmland


Addressing Ohio’s rising prison population
• Expands options for local communities to divert some low-level offenders from the crowded state prison system through a Targeted Community Alternative to Prison (TCAP) program


Ensuring children receive the care and attention they deserve
• Restores the Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps (BCMH) and funds the program at $3 million per year
• Increases funding to the Child, Family and Community Protection Services


Directing additional resources to the local level
• Increases funding for Indigent Defense by $7.1 million in FY’18 and $7.9 million in FY’19


Streamlining government
• Reduces House administrative budget by 6 percent
• In an effort to streamline state government agencies and to eliminate further barriers to certification for various professions, the budget prioritizes the consolidation of certain boards and commissions.


Am. Sub. H.B. 49 will now head to the Governor for his signature.

 
 
 
  
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