House Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today called on state lawmakers to recover funds lost by Ohio libraries during the ongoing 17-day temporary budget extension. Ohio’s public library systems have lost thousands of dollars under the bill, and stand to lose more if Republican lawmakers cannot reach a long-term deal by July 17.
“Cutting public library funds breaks our promise to the thousands of Ohio children, families and working people who utilize library resources to learn, apply for jobs and get their businesses off the ground,” said Sykes. “Instead of shortchanging our future, we should be investing in it. We need to pass a long-term state budget and restore critical funding to these vital community resources.”
Ohio’s Public Library Funds were automatically cut from the 2018-2019 level of 1.68 percent to 1.66 percent July 1 as part of the 17-day interim budget deal, which has cost Ohio’s public libraries thousands over the past two weeks.
Sykes’ call to restore library funding comes as ongoing budget uncertainty this week forced officials at a number of public colleges and universities to delay student tuition bills and financial aid grants for the upcoming fall semester as state lawmakers remain deadlocked on a long-term budget bill.
“These are just two of the negative effects we’ve uncovered as Republicans continue to fight about the budget,” added Sykes. “Actual harm is being inflicted on our communities despite their nonchalant attitude towards missing the budget deadline.”
Lawmakers have until July 17 to pass a long-term budget.