Senate president disagrees with House leader's suggestion that budget deadline will be missed
Despite the wide gulf between the state budget bills passed by the House and Senate, the leader of the upper chamber disagrees with his counterpart that the legislature could miss its June 30 deadline.
Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said there are about 800 differences between the biennial budget his members passed and the House-passed plan. Still, Huffman disagreed with House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill), who, earlier this week, told reporters he thinks conference committee negotiations could continue into July.
The deadline to pass and sign a two-year budget bill is June 30.
“We understand that we are not going to get to 50 votes in the House without doing some of the things the House wants to do," Huffman said.
The bipartisan House budget includes more money for public education and social services along with an income tax cut. The Senate budget, which received no Democratic votes, provides more tax breaks and expands private school vouchers to nearly every Ohio student.
Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio said she's hopeful the conference committee will improve the budget by providing more funding for public education.
She's also opposed to provisions in the Senate version of the budget which includes an overhaul of higher education. It bans most instances of diversity training, prevents faculty from striking and requires expressions of "intellectual diversity" on a set of specific topics including electoral politics, marriage or abortion.
"The legislature is micro-managing our higher ed to the detriment," Antonio said. "I'm very concerned, if that continues to stay in there, to our public institutions of higher learning."
Those are just two changes her members want to see before voting for the budget. But the 33 member Senate could easily pass any resolution without approval from the seven Democrats.