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Tax Collections Short Again, And A Plan To Get The Economy Soaring With Two Huge New Airports

Senators are preparing to put out their version of the state budget next week, in which they need to trim hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure it’s balanced. And this week, the state budget office is reporting another big loss in tax collections for the current fiscal year. But budget director Tim Keen says this shouldn’t dramatically affect the ongoing budget process, since he says they’re consistent with previously announced expectations.

On Monday, the state school board is expected to vote to require the state’s largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, to pay back $60 million it got in state funding.  But ECOT spokesman Neil Clark says no matter the vote, this battle with ODE isn’t over.

Ohio is among the leading states in the nation in the number of manufacturing jobs lost in the last few decades. Increases in employment in service and technology fields have taken up some slack in the state’s major cities. But there are small towns throughout Ohio that are still struggling to recover from the void created by the exodus of steel mills and other manufacturing jobs. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles takes a look at one of those.

A Republican state lawmaker says companies have left Ohio because of a lack of access to air travel. He says Ohio can bring back jobs and more flights by building two new regional hub airports.  Southwest Ohio Rep. Jim Butler wants to build airports at I-71 near Xenia and on I-80 just north of Ravenna, and to add passenger rail service between the major population areas and these facilities.