COLUMBUS— The House Committee on Finance and Appropriations approved the state budget, Substitute House Bill 59, today for consideration of the full House later this week. Democratic members on the panel offered 16 amendments to the bill, 15 of which were rejected by House Republicans. The amendments were part of a larger effort by Democratic lawmakers to address issues of transparency, accountability, public education, health care and tax reform for middle class Ohioans.
“I am very disappointed that the Majority has continued its assault on working and middle class families in this budget,” said Rep. John Patrick Carney (D-Columbus). “Most troubling of all is the failure to expand Medicaid for hundreds of thousands of low-income, working Ohioans who seriously need healthcare. This will have an enormously negative impact on Ohioans, hospitals, health care providers and businesses throughout Ohio.”
House Republicans nixed major provisions of Governor Kasich’s initial budget proposal through a recently introduced substitute version of the bill. Democrats’ amendments to expand Medicaid, prevent the reprioritization of family planning dollars, restore education funding and give a targeted tax cut to middle class Ohioans were all soundly rejected.
“My sense is that this budget bill is more or less a shot in the dark by House Republicans,” Carney added. “The Governor put them in an odd place with some pretty severe, sweeping changes. They essentially just walked it all back and added egregious social policy provisions on sex education and women’s rights. All in a day’s work, I suppose.”
House Republicans voted to accept their own omnibus amendment to the budget bill. Republicans at the last minute included a $30 million increase for nursing homes and a dramatic shift in public health education, a change which restricts school sex ed. programs that lead to “gateway sexual activity” and assesses civil penalties on schools and teachers.