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Rep. Kent Smith: Final budget falls short for working people and families

July 17, 2019
Kent Smith News

Ohio State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today voted in opposition to the finalized version of the state budget, House Bill (HB) 166. Today’s vote follows more than two weeks of Republican dysfunction and gridlock, which forced lawmakers to pass a short-term funding extension before finally compromising on a long-term deal late Tuesday.

“I voted no on the budget conference report because the public education policy got worse, rather than better, when compared to the version that was passed by the House several months ago,” said Rep. Kent Smith. “While the creation of new Academic Distress Commissions have been suspended, the three communities currently suffering under a, “Columbus Know Best” approach must continue to suffer under the leadership of unaccountable bureaucrats when the results suggest that these takeovers are not working. I hope this legislature will continue to restore local leaders and local voices in Youngstown, Lorain, and East Cleveland.”

Long-held Democratic tax fairness priorities, like lowering the LLC loophole threshold from $250,000 to $100,000, were cut from the final version of the bill. Democrats say the billion-dollar tax giveaway largely benefits the wealthiest Ohioans, and has not delivered on its promise to create more jobs for Ohio workers.

Democrats also opposed Republican changes to:

  • Roll back charter school oversight;
  • Increase funding for controversial Ed Choice vouchers that Dems say hurt Ohio’s public schools;
  • Include additional funds for crisis pregnancy centers;
  • Remove provisions to end the state’s failed school takeovers and restore control to local districts.

“In addition, I call upon Governor DeWine to veto the rollback of charter school reforms passed in the last General Assembly; veto the crisis pregnancy center line item and to move the 2020 Primary Election to any day other than St. Patrick’s Day,” said Rep. Kent Smith.

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.