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Rep. West: Budget a mixed bag, but delivers wins for working people

Bill contains fair school funding overhaul, historic investment in broadband infrastructure
June 29, 2021
Thomas West News

COLUMBUS—Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) issued a statement Tuesday following the passage of the state budget, House Bill 110, which included the Fair School Funding Plan, an improved public school funding formula that better addresses the needs of Ohio students, teachers and communities, as well as $250 million for broadband development in underserved areas.

“Since I started my work at the legislature, I have advocated for a school funding formula that is fair, constitutional, and predictable. This year, we finally delivered on that promise. We also know how important broadband is in today’s world, as well as the access disparities that exist across our communities. This budget includes a significant investment to help close that access gap,” Rep. West said. “Additionally, as the ranking member of the House Finance Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, I heard hours of testimony on the need to better support our direct service provider workforce. With that in mind, this budget contains an investment for those providers in the form of funding increases for vital programs that serve older Ohioans and Ohioans with developmental disabilities who prefer to stay in their homes.”

“HB 110 allows Ohioans making up to 142 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) to qualify for publicly funded childcare, a modest but important increase that will cover more working families in need.  This budget also ensures pregnant women on the Medicaid program are covered for a year postpartum instead of just 60 days. I was excited to secure continued funding for the Stark County Minority Business Association and increased funding for the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood, as well.”

“While those good provisions will make a huge difference in the lives of many Ohioans, we must acknowledge the bad and flat-out ugly changes made in HB 110. Once again, this budget includes a tax giveaway that disproportionately benefits those at the top while making very little impact for middle and low-income Ohioans. The attacks on healthcare access for LGBTQ Ohioans and reproductive care for those living in Southwest Ohio were also very disheartening. What’s more, changes to the redistricting process amount to a power grab by those in the majority. I hope that the governor will heed our calls to veto these dangerous provisions.”

Democrats did express opposition Monday to a tax giveaway that largely benefits the wealthiest Ohioans and an increase in funding for the state’s EdChoice Voucher Program. 

Democrats indicated they will send to the governor a list of requested budget line-item vetoes to address a number of their concerns.