Rainy Day Fund Hits All Time High, And Budget Concerns Coming From Left And Right
The new fiscal year celebration continued for the Kasich administration, which this week filled up the state’s rainy day fund. Meanwhile, the talk about expanding Medicaid isn’t over. Gov. Kasich appeared at a rally with supporters of Medicaid expansion this week. Democrats held a news conference before that rally, calling on Kasich to do more to push his Republican colleagues into moving on Medicaid expansion. Opponents of some items in the $62 billion two-year budget have been considering what they can do to stop those individual items – especially the abortion restrictions.
While the budget has gotten a lot of praise from the Republican lawmakers who were involved in creating it, it’s been the target of criticism from many others – and on both sides of the political fence. Liberal and progressive activists have attacked the income tax cuts along with the sales tax increase, which they say benefit the rich and hurt the poor, the school funding plan, and the abortion policy in this spending plan. And many conservatives have also blasted the budget, saying it sets Ohio up for trouble down the road and includes too much spending. And they’re especially upset about the continuing discussions about whether to expand Medicaid to people making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which Gov. John Kasich and some lawmakers – including a few Republicans – want to do. Among the observers following the budget are Eli Miller, the new Ohio state director for Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group, and Dale Butland, the communications director of progressive think tank Innovation Ohio.