Ohio House, Senate reach agreement on $191 billion budget, compromising on education initiatives
The Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Graham Stokes for Ohio Capital Journal. Republish photo only with original story.)
A deal has been reached over Ohio’s state budget, with a variety of compromises between the Ohio House and Senate versions. It now goes to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who has line-item veto power.
The main focus of both the House’s and the Senate’s budgets was education. The Senate plan was much more conservative, while the House plan was bipartisan. After a week and a half of negotiations, agreement was reached on the two-year, $191 billion budget. The budget is projected at $86 billion for fiscal year 2024 and $105 billion for fiscal year 2025.
Ultimately, the chambers took pieces of both budgets to reach a compromise that satisfied Republicans in the Senate and House. Although Democrats got a few small wins, many of them still voted no on the budget.
“Our priorities — education, and the fact that we were able to get back the $550 million that the Senate took out of our public schools — I think is a big win for Republicans, Democrats for the people of Ohio, all across the state,” said State Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville).
Edwards, the House Finance Chair, was able to reinstate the total funding needed for the Fair School Funding plan, but with that, he had to give Senate Finance Chair Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) what the Senate wanted when it came to private school vouchers.
“Gives parents the choice to decide where and how their child’s going to be educated,” Dolan said of the private voucher program.
Democrats are unhappy with the majority of the budget, but they did get one of their main requests — getting the higher education overhaul bill removed. This bill would have banned public universities in Ohio from having “bias” in the classroom and limiting how and what “controversial topics” were taught.
However, the budget did keep in a bill that would create learning centers on OSU and University of Toledo campuses, meant to specifically target “intellectual diversity, or safe spaces for conservatives” on campus.
“I loved seeing Senate Bill 83 taken out,” said Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood). “Unfortunately, not only did they leave [Senate Bill] 117 and these indoctrination centers at universities in, but then they added they have to now have three more, and they added one in Cleveland State.”
While the chambers have reached an agreement, they aren’t done with the budget just yet. It goes to Gov. Mike Dewine, who gets to veto any provision within it.
This article was originally published on News5Cleveland.com and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.
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