Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signs budget, issues dozens of vetoes

By: - July 5, 2023 10:03 am

Photo from the Office of Gov. Mike DeWine.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has signed the state’s nearly $200 billion budget, but he issued more than 40 vetoes ranging from higher education policy to health care management.

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, an 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.

The governor kept the majority of the provisions the same; this includes education funding and most of the tax cuts.

“I think this budget is about putting money into the economy,” House Finance Chair Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) said. “It’s about allowing our Ohioans to keep money in their pocket while also maintaining a social safety net for people in need in our most vulnerable population. I think we land in a good spot.”

Edwards explained that he tried to compromise between the Senate’s conservative budget and the House’s bipartisan one — which meant ultimately sending a budget to DeWine that is Republican-focused but does give some Democratic wins.

“Let’s hope he doesn’t veto anything,” Edwards said with a smile on Friday.

Well, the governor issued 44 vetoes Tuesday, helping each side of the aisle.

For Democrats, he vetoed a provision that would ban cities from creating their own tobacco laws. This isn’t the first time he has vetoed this bill.

Back in January, DeWine vetoed a bill that banned municipalities from regulating flavored tobacco.

“Candidly, though, we’re dealing now with young people’s lives,” DeWine said at the news conference. “When a local community wants to make the decision to ban these flavors to protect their children, we should applaud those decisions.”

For Republicans, he vetoed Medicaid coverage of doulas.

“The DeWine-Husted Administration supports the legislative intent of this item and intends to regulate the practice of doulas and require Medicaid coverage of these services,” DeWine wrote. “Several provisions included in the language, however, are unnecessary and would impede ODM’s ability to quickly provide access to these needed services for pregnant and new mothers.”

Also, the veto was requested by the sponsor, he added.

Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) said that the budget has already unfairly cut Medicaid funding.

“It looks like it’s at least $1 billion cut to Medicaid at a time when we… [have] $6 billion in surplus,” she said. “Why in the world would we cut the funds from a program that lifts people up?”

Tax vetoes

Other major vetoes include changing the sales tax holiday. Lawmakers originally extended the holiday to two weeks and increased the number of products that fall underneath it. The governor said he supports this but still vetoed it because he wants the tax commissioner to choose the length.

The governor also vetoed a provision within the income tax rate reduction. As it was written, the code required the tax commissioner to set personal income tax rates and brackets. DeWine said that is unconstitutional.

Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) also needed a specific callout, as “this veto closes an unintended potential loophole, open to exploitation through tax planning.”

OCJ/WEWS reached out to the governor’s team, and the spokesperson clarified that the governor’s tax vetoes won’t kill the full policies, allowing for the tax cuts to still be workable.

Education vetoes

DeWine also vetoed several provisions related to higher education. The first would remove OSU student trustees from having voting power. Republican lawmakers did this because they say the university is too liberal.

DeWine said the OSU board should decide who gets voting rights. However, Antonio notes that there is still a provision that takes away the State Board of Education’s voting rights.

“Their members across the state are going to be rendered basically with hardly any responsibility,” she added. “I hope that people would be very outraged that their voices are being ignored and taken away.”

Another controversial provision was a student’s right to decline vaccines required for enrollment or residence in a dorm at a public or private university. DeWine vetoed and said this “may compromise the overall health and safety of students, residents, staff and faculty at the institution.”

Educators have told OCJ/WEWS they are happy about this veto.



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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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Morgan Trau
Morgan Trau

Morgan Trau is a political reporter and multimedia journalist based out of the WEWS Columbus Bureau. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Trau has previously worked as an investigative, political and fact-checking reporter in Grand Rapids, Mich. at WZZM-TV; a reporter and MMJ in Spokane, Wash. at KREM-TV and has interned at 60 Minutes and worked for CBS Interactive and PBS NewsHour.