State Budget Almost Law After Passing House And Senate

The journey of Ohio’s $62 billion dollar two year state budget is almost over. And if anyone thought it would be a simple process since Gov. John Kasich's fellow Republicans dominate the House and Senate, it didn’t take long for everyone to realize that was not going to be the case. On Tuesday, the conference committee released its final recommendations for the budget. Lawmakers got a day to consider the resolution of some 500 differences in the two budgets, as well as some 100 new amendments that were added. The budget came to the House and Senate on Thursday, where lawmakers spoke passionately for and against it. One Senate Republican and seven House Republicans joined all Democrats in voting against it.

Also on budget day – House Democrats announced they’ll try a technical trick to push forward Republican Barbara Sears’ bill to expand Medicaid. They say they’ve pulled a discharge petition to force a vote on the bill, but they need all Democrats and 11 Republicans to sign onto it for it to go to the floor. They say they’re leaning on Gov. Kasich to persuade members of the Republican caucus to sign onto it as well.

To dig more deeply into the spending and policy in this budget, two experts who have been watching the process from different perspectives offer their thoughts. Jon Honeck is with the Center for Community Solutions, a progressive-leaning research group dealing with fiscal, health, social and economic policy. Greg Lawson is a policy analyst for the conservative Buckeye Institute, which describes itself as a free-market think tank.

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