Over objections from state Controlling Board member Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), the Republican-controlled panel tasked with oversight of state spending approved a Kasich Administration request today to pay off a Grand Lake St. Marys landowners’ lawsuit against the state using severance tax revenue from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources oil & gas fund. Republicans slipped the maneuver into the state budget at the eleventh hour with no debate or notice.
“Lawmakers should be held accountable for resorting to one-time cash-grabs and shell games to prop up unstable budgets and poor job growth,” Cera said. “This sheds new light on the dangerous and dishonest financial tricks lawmakers will play to bolster political talking points. This funding should be used to put people back to work in Eastern Ohio at good-paying jobs that can sustain a family and let us plan for our future.”
The cash-grab to pay off the almost decade-old lawsuit makes use of some $15 million in severance tax funds that are normally required to be used for related oil and gas drilling needs in impacted communities. Republicans state lawmakers already transferred $10 million from the fund to prop up the state budget shortfall early in June.
“This multi-million-dollar cash grab by the state shows where Columbus politicians’ priorities are – not with hardworking taxpayers and property owners in Eastern Ohio,” Cera added. “After almost ten years to plan for a lawsuit settlement in the western part of Ohio, state officials failed to responsibly plan for the future and instead are robbing our area of what’s rightfully ours.”
The settlement comes on the heels of the state budget vote. Cera tried to amend the budget to dedicate at least $10 million in severance tax money for infrastructure repairs and related services in Eastern Ohio communities. His efforts were defeated along party lines.
In a political effort to hamstring Ohio House Democratic lawmakers in a pro-gun, anti-gun debate today on the House floor, Republicans brought forward House Bill (HB) 233 for a vote, legislation that allows concealed carry permit holders to knowingly bring guns or deadly weapons into daycares, schools, airports, bars and other restricted spaces, so long as the permit holder leaves when asked to do so. Individuals who refuse to leave or return to the same business while carrying a prohibited weapon within 30 days will be subject to a fourth degree misdemeanor.
“This isn’t just a solution looking for a problem, but it is creating a whole new set of public safety problems by overturning Ohio laws designed to keep us safe and secure,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “This will trample private property rights of business owners and create confusion in secure locations like airports, police stations, schools and daycares. As a gun owner and strong second amendment supporter, I think Ohioans deserve to feel safe and secure, free from the fear of intimidation or tragedies this bill could create,” added Strahorn.
Today, the Republican-controlled Ohio House of Representatives overrode eleven items Governor John Kasich vetoed in the recently passed state budget, House Bill (HB) 49. Under the House’s overrides, Medicaid expansion will have to be reauthorized through the state Controlling Board and new taxes on working people could be put in place as a condition of healthcare coverage – if the Senate takes up the House overrides.
“After six years and almost two-billion dollars in Republican cuts to local communities, it’s our responsibility to take an all-of-the-above strategy to rebuild and restore our economic engines – our local communities,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “While Ohio’s economy teeters on the verge of recession, we need to put our communities and local taxpayers in the best position possible to plan for their future and invest in job creation and community development.”
On July 4th 1776, our founders signed a declaration founded in ideals of freedom, fairness and equality. These ideals formed the fabric of our society, together weaving the greatest American ideal: the “American Dream”.
In 2017, the promise of the “American Dream” feels out of reach for many people who are working harder than ever just to get by. As corporations and politicians have shipped good-paying middle-class jobs overseas, owning a home, a reliable car and starting a family has become a pipe dream, especially to our young Americans.
Ohio House Democratic lawmakers today sent a letter to Governor Kasich urging him to line-item veto the Medicaid expansion freeze in the state operating budget, House Bill (HB) 49, that will end healthcare coverage for over half-a-million people.
“The people of Ohio deserve representatives in Columbus who will stand up and fight for them,” said state Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron). “Passing the Medicaid expansion freeze and kicking people off of Medicaid is unacceptable, harmful, and cruel and unusual punishment.”
If approved by the federal government, the GOP freeze to Ohio’s Medicaid expansion will phase out medical coverage for over half-a-million Ohioans, leaving families with minimal healthcare options.
“We need to provide healthcare for Ohio’s families, all of Ohio’s families.” Sykes said. “Without access to healthcare, lives will be lost and costs will rise. Ohio cannot afford to pay for the increased costs that will come by taking away people’s healthcare.”
*Editor’s note: A copy of the letter sent to Gov. Kasich is pasted below.
The Ohio House voted today on the Republican-led charge to restrict worker’s access to healthcare and benefits through the state’s $581 million Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) budget bill, House Bill 27.
GOP lawmakers undertook a significant rewrite of what is typically a noncontroversial budget bill to include benefit restrictions on firefighters with cancer. The $581 million measure also cuts in half the amount of time all workers currently have to file a claim, something Democrats say could economically destabilizes thousands of Ohio families.
“The brave men and women who run into burning buildings while everyone else runs away deserve better than new barriers to care when they are seriously injured or get sick on the job,” said House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “Retreating from firefighters who contract cancer from their dangerous line of work and closing the door early on workers seeking treatment for workplace injuries seriously undermines the economic stability of working families across the state.”
COLUMBUS— Amid a more than $1 billion financial shortfall, Ohio’s legislative Republicans pushed state budget negotiations closer to the brink Tuesday and today with eleventh hour horse-trading over a Medicaid lockout and complex money maneuvers, leaving Gov. John Kasich less than 48 hours to review the state budget, House Bill 49, before the start of the new fiscal year.
“This budget not only threatens the economic well-being of working families, but attacks the health of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Ohioans,” said Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati). “At a time when Ohio leads the nation in opioid deaths, too many babies are dying before their first birthday in our state, and many families have love ones fighting some type of cancer or other serious health condition, blocking access to Medicaid for those who need it most literally puts the lives of Ohioans on the line.”
Amid a more than $1 billion financial shortfall, Ohio’s legislative Republicans pushed state budget negotiations closer to the brink Tuesday and today with eleventh hour horse-trading over a Medicaid lockout and complex money maneuvers, leaving Gov. John Kasich less than 48 hours to review the state budget, House Bill 49, before the start of the new fiscal year.
“While the rest of America is recovering from the global recession, six years of Republican mismanagement have held us back from solving real problems like attracting better-paying jobs, reducing healthcare costs, and strengthening our children’s schools,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “Our economy continues to underperform and people at home are feeling it. The state is on a downward spiral to recession.”
Before state lawmakers head into conference committee to hammer out the final details of the state biennial budget, House Democratic leaders today questioned whether the legislation adequately addresses the state’s current fiscal crisis that has left Ohio families struggling to make ends meet and communities underwater.
“The Ohio GOP’s misguided tax policy has not created the economic stability, better-paying jobs or real growth that was promised. While the rest of the nation is recovering from the Great Recession, Ohio has been held back,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “After six years of being wrong – wrong about a tax policy that favors the wealthy over the middle class, wrong about state revenue numbers for 10 out of 11 months, wrong even about how much needs to be cut to balance the budget – I have no doubt that the same failed approach based on ideology instead of facts will only do more harm to working Ohio families and send our economy deeper into a tailspin.”
State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) will offer testimony during Education and Career Readiness Committee TODAY, Tuesday, June 20 at 3:00 p.m. in the Statehouse on House Bill (HB) 220, legislation to shine a light on how charter schools spend taxpayer dollars. The Columbus lawmaker’s testimony follows the Columbus Dispatch’s recent editorial reporting of nearly $200 million tax dollars that ECOT, the state’s largest online charter school, spent on management fees to companies owned by its founder.
“Just as Ohio parents want to know that their children are receiving the highest quality possible education in school, Ohio taxpayers deserve to know how their hard-earned dollars are being used,” said Leland. “Our Constitutional mandate to create a “thorough” and “efficient” public school system demands nothing less.”
WHO: State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus)
WHAT: Education and Career Readiness Committee
Sponsor testimony for HB 220
WHEN: TODAY, Tuesday, June 20 at 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: Ohio Statehouse, Room 121