State Budget Is Signed Just In Time For New Fiscal Year
With only about four hours to go, the two-year, $62 billion dollar state budget was signed just before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1. And the Sunday evening ceremony answered a lot of questions that had lingered throughout the weekend, but brought up even more going forward. Gov. John Kasich vetoed 22 items, and took no questions about any of them. Kasich struck lines that would have prohibited Medicaid expansion, as many Democrats and advocates for expansion had urged him to do. He also struck lines exempting spider monkeys from the new exotic animals law and redlined an additional $60 million for nursing homes. But the governor did not veto any of the abortion-related measures in the budget. That includes what Republican lawmakers called the reprioritization of Planned Parenthood funding - essentially stripping its $1.4 million in state funding - and a last-minute addition to require a doctor inform a woman of the presence of a fetal heartbeat before performing the procedure. Democrats and pro-choice groups were furious, e-mailing and tweeting angry responses to the governor’s decision. As for what’s next with the budget on the abortion-related issues, Kellie Copeland with NARAL/Pro Choice Ohio says activists are working on that.
Now that the budget is signed and in place, it’s up to the experts to dig into what’s in this huge plan to find out more about it. Last week two budget experts shared their thoughts on the major tax changes. 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. They return to talk more about the spending plan and the policy in it.