With the start of a new general assembly, a challenging yet essential task awaits: crafting the biennial state operating budget. The Ohio House and Senate are heavily involved in the process of creating and revising this package of bills that allocates the state’s financial resources with regard to thousands of funding priorities. It is no easy task, to be sure, and one that necessitates months of deliberation before the final bills go to the Governor’s office to be signed into law.

As in my first term, my office has received many calls and emails from citizens and local leaders concerned about the Governor’s proposed budget. With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to share an overview of the process and steps required before it becomes law.

The budget process begins early, when budget requests from local governments and state agencies are sent to the Governor’s office for consideration. These requests, coupled with pertinent data such as spending predictions, inform the Governor’s office and the Office of Budget and Management in the formation of the executive budget proposal. The upcoming budget cycle applies to fiscal years 2018 and 2019, with fiscal year 2018 commencing on July 1, 2017.

The Ohio House is the first legislative body to examine the budget proposal after receiving it from the Governor by late January. The Governor’s budget proposal is composed of four important policy areas: the main operating, transportation, workers’ compensation, and industrial commission budgets. The House Finance Committee, comprised of subcommittees that provide refined focus on specific policy areas, is off to a busy start already, deliberating and discussing these proposals.

After review, the House sends the legislation to the Senate in March or April. The Senate further considers changes and eventually agrees on its own revised version of the budget package. The next crucial step is for the two chambers to meet together, discuss the bills as they stand after the initial review, and send a final version to the Governor. June 30, which is the last day of the current fiscal year, serves as the deadline for the Governor to sign the bills for the final budget.

As we can see, it takes months of research, input, and deliberation to produce a workable and responsible state budget. The legislature, as well as local governments, state agencies, and the administration, all work together to assemble a budget that best reflects the interests of our state. Please keep in mind that in the previous operating budget, thousands of amendments were considered. This process remains very fluid and I commend my fellow Ohioans for being involved in crafting the future of our state. Any questions, concerns, or ideas can be directed to my office, as I am eager to consider your valuable input as we move further along in the budget process.


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