Senators Release Their Budget, And No Public Audit For JobsOhio

After weeks of waiting, next week the Senate version of the budget hits the floor. And the plan they’ll vote on does not include a 7% income tax cut for all Ohioans that was in the House version, which had been revised down from Gov. John Kasich’s original 20% proposal. But Senate Republicans did restore Kasich’s 50% tax cut on small businesses. Gov. Kasich’s plan to expand Medicaid is still out of the Senate plan. And the plan to require universities charge out of state students in-state tuition rates if they provide utility credentials so students can vote here has been dropped from the Senate budget. Senators also unveiled their changes to the school funding plan.

State lawmakers have passed a measure that seeks to clear up whether the state auditor has the authority to audit the operating funds in JobsOhio, as he says he does, or whether that money is private. And the situation gave Democrats the opportunity to once again talk about what it likely to be a huge issue in next year’s campaign for governor. Republican Auditor David Yost had asked committee members to delay a vote. But the amendment was on the House floor hours later. Rep. Ron Maag (R-Lebanon) told the House it protects JobsOhio as it continues to spark economic growth. Democrats such as Rep. Matt Lundy (D-Elyria) and Rep. John Carney (D-Columbus) fought back, but were blasted by Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) for their "dangerous" comments. In the Senate, Minority Leader Eric Kearney (D-Cincinnati) read a letter from the Republican state auditor asking for a delay, but Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) supported the amendment.

The budget has been the top item on the agenda this year, and with so many big ideas in it, there hasn’t been much else to talk about. But with the Senate voting on the budget next week, and with the deadline at the end of June, the closure of the process allows for other issues to come back up. One of those other issues could be abortion. The Senate version of the budget continues the House plan to defund or “reprioritize” money that had been going to Planned Parenthood facilities in Ohio.
Two leaders in the abortion debate were on the show in January to talk about what they saw ahead in state government. Jamie Miracle is from NARAL Pro Choice Ohio and Mike Gonidakis is from Ohio Right to Life.

And now, we go back to a place that you won’t ever be able to see in person, and that virtually no one has seen since this winter. It’s the state’s $2.9 million exotic animal facility, and reporters were invited to tour it in late February.

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