COLUMBUS – State Rep. Anita Somani (D-Dublin) yesterday celebrated the passage of the bipartisan Operating Budget (HB 33) by the House of Representatives. The revised two-year budget bill outlines spending of $88 billion in state dollars, prioritizing improvements in public education funding and teacher pay, expansion of Medicaid coverage and other healthcare areas, expansion in childcare capacity and programs, and necessary funding for local government infrastructure projects.
“Yesterday, the House passed an Operating Budget that benefits all Ohioans,” said Rep. Somani. “I am proud of my colleagues who worked hard on this bipartisan budget that increases pay for direct care workers, adopts the Fair School Funding Plan and expands publicly funded childcare.”
Democratic Caucus priorities in HB 33 include:
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
- Continues implementation of the Cupp-Patterson Fair School Funding Plan using FY 2022 per pupil data.
- Increases the general phase-in and disadvantaged pupil impact aid phase-in percentages from 33.33% in FY 2023 to 50% in FY 2024 and 66.67% in FY 2025.
- Increases the minimum transportation state share percentage from 33.33% in FY 2023 to 37.5% in FY 2024 and 41.67% in FY 2025.
- Requires ODE to determine performance measures for parents to view and compare chartered nonpublic schools that accept EdChoice vouchers and public schools.
- Appropriates $83.5 million for literacy improvement grants.
- Increases the base teacher salary 33% from $30k to $40k and adjusts the remainder of the teacher salary schedule accordingly.
- Makes school meals free for anyone who currently qualifies for reduced priced breakfast or lunch.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Medicaid Reimbursement/Payment Rates
- Direct care services payment rates: Increased base payment rates to $17/hr for FY24 and $18/hr for FY25.
- Earmarks $47,086,175 in FY24 and $194,924,947 in FY25.
- Clarifies that direct care payment rate increases to $17/hr for FY24 and $18/hr for FY25 apply to community behavioral health services.
- Vision provider payment rates: Increased Medicaid payment rates for vision services/eye care providers.
- Increased by $1,257,721 ($347,760 state share) in FY24 and $2,715,441 ($774,987 state share) in FY25.
- Dental provider reimbursement rates: Increased Medicaid reimbursement rate for dental service providers.
- Increased by $122,144,375 ($33,772,920 state share) in FY24 and $244,288,751 ($69,720,009 state share) in FY25.
Medicaid - Other
- Medicaid Buy-In for Workers with Disabilities: extends coverage to workers with disabilities aged 65 and older.
- Medicaid Coverage for: pregnant women under 300% FPL, children aged 0 - 19 under 300% FPL, and children under age 19 adopted through private agencies (no income threshold).
- Continuous Medicaid enrollment for children 0 – 3.
- Doulas: Establishes a 5-year program in ODM to cover doula services.
- Creation of new Department of Children and Youth (KID).
- Child care eligibility increased from 142% FPL to 160% FPL – estimated cost of $101M/FY, serving +15,000 more children.
- Increases appropriation to Early Childhood Education by $15M/FY.
- Appropriates $15M/FY to Child Care Infrastructure for infant and toddler child care (Same as Dem HC2020).
- Earmarks $15M/FY for Ohio Association of Foodbanks.
Aging / Other
- Expansion of the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) from 1 county to 7.
- Alzheimer’s and Other Dementia Respite funding increased +72.3% from FY23 to $4.3M for FY24-25. Includes establishing statewide dementia coordinator.
- Appropriates $100K/FY for the DeafBlind Fund to the Columbus Speech and Hearing Center (CSHC).
Nursing Home Rebasing / Payments
- Nursing facility rebasing: increases frequency of rebasing to at least every 2 years; costs measured from the calendar year before rebasing; limits increases to direct care, ancillary, support center costs to 40% of increase.
- Private room per day payment rate: $30/day beginning in FY 2024 for services provided to residents in private rooms of nursing facilities and permits ODM to increase the rate in subsequent fiscal years.
- State Share of Instruction (SSI): Increases SSI 1.5% each year over current spending.
- Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG): $140M in FY24 and $175M in FY25 – a 25% yearly increase over current levels. Increases eligibility, but award amounts are likely to remain similar to current levels over the biennium.
- Super RAPIDS: $100M in one-time FY24 funds to support collaborative projects among education and workforce-related entities for workforce development throughout the state.
- Career-Technical Construction Program line item: $200M in FY24 for the Career-Technical Construction Program under the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.
- House Bill 9 (Lightbody, Manning): $5M in FY24 and $10M in FY25 for the Grow Your Own Teacher scholarship, and $25M in FY24 for the Teacher Loan Repayment Fund.
Department of Administrative Services
- MARCS: $60.5M over the biennium to cover the standard local fees for the Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS). In FY24, $2M must be used to install and maintain one P-25 compliant Motorola ISSI-8000 for MARCS and non-MARCS interoperability.
- Next Gen 9-1-1 Modernization: Funds $46M over the biennium to upgrade current 9-1-1 infrastructure. Also directs state and county governments to upgrade their current 9-1-1 infrastructure to “Next Generation 9-1-1” systems. Imposes $.64 user fee rather than the current wireless 9-1-1 charge of $.25 per device or service.
AGRICULTURE, DEVELOPMENT, AND NATURAL RESOURCES
- Invests $307.2M over the biennium for H2Ohio, the state’s leading program in improving water quality.
Department of Development
- Directs the Dept. of Development to conduct a study on whether minority, women and veteran-owned businesses face barriers contracting with the state.
- Increases the funding for broadband pole replacement to $50M.
- Low-income housing tax credit
- Authorizes a nonrefundable state tax credit that piggybacks on the federal low-income housing tax credit for affordable housing projects.
- Limits the total amount of credits that may be reserved in a fiscal year to $500 million.
- Establishes requirements for the Tax Commissioner to prescribe a formula for uniformly valuing federal subsidized rental housing.
- An increased investment in low-income homes that will expand affordable housing access in Ohio.
East Palestine Business/Taxpayer Payments CAT/PIT Exclusion
- Excludes from gross receipts tax receipts provided to a business/taxpayer to compensate for lost business resulting from the train derailment of East Palestine from Norfolk Southern Railway.
- Exempts sales of children’s diapers, creams and lotions, cribs, wipes, car seats, cribs, and strollers.
Property Taxes and Homestead Exemption
- Homestead Exemption Indexed- Indexes the existing $25,000 homestead exemption amount to inflation, and maintains indexing for the income eligibility threshold. Does not increase the exemption amount or the income threshold.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT PROVISION
LGF and PLF
- Permanently increases share to 1.7% of GRF beginning in FY24.
- Increase to the Public Library Fund share of GRF- Permanently, increases share to 1.7% of GRF (half from non-auto sales tax revenue and half from GRF kilowatt-hour tax revenue).
- The increased share will provide the PLF with an additional $12 million in FY24 and $12.6 million in FY25.
Department of Veterans Services
- Increases funding to hire more nursing staff and compliance officers for the Veterans Homes, and modernize the homes at a cost of approximately $65M.
- Increases appropriations by $50,000 in each fiscal year to $450,000 for American Legion of Ohio, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans and VFW.
Department of Transportation
- Establishes the $1B Connect4Ohio Program to build infrastructure for economic development purposes.
- Appropriates $20M in each fiscal year to be used for grants under the OH Maritime Assistance Program.
- Appropriates $50M to be used for Airport Development Grants Fund for commercial airport improvements.
Office of the Public Defender
- Increases the Civil Legal Aid Fund (5750) by $500k/FY.
- Requires OPD to prioritize reimbursement to counties that contract with the state, and be reimbursed 100% of associated costs for indigent defense.
- Replaces the $75 flat cap on indigent defense reimbursement for all counties and makes the cap permissive up to $75 per hour or the rate established by the county as of April 1, 2023, whichever is greater.
The Operating Bill now heads to the Ohio Senate for consideration.