Panel Unanimously Sends Changed Budget Ahead For Full Senate Vote

Jun 19, 2019

With just over a week to go before the state’s two year budget must be signed into law, the Senate will vote on its version today. And there are some last minute changes to that spending plan.

"With 13 yeas and zero nays, the bill is referred to Rules and Reference," said Chair Matt Dolan, announcing the Senate Finance committee’s approval of the Senate version of the budget.

The vote in the committee was unanimous, as it was in the House Finance Committee in May. That was the first unanimous vote for a budget in that committee in more than a decade.

Changes to the budget include $8 million to help parents avoid giving up custody to get their kids medical treatment, and $100 million for struggling pharmacies and new requirements on pharmacy benefits managers.

There are other items in the budget. It adds high school graduation requirements starting in 2023. It allows people who will be 18 by October to buy tobacco products, though the buying age will rise to 21, and it changes the tax on e-cigarettes. It allows charter schools to ban unvaccinated students, and calls for a study of state school report cards with a report and recommendations due in December. And next year’s March presidential primary will be pushed ahead by a week.

But the Senate’s 8 percent income tax cut and its restoration of the $250,000 small business tax deduction stay. Those are among the differences with the House budget that will be worked out in conference committee. 

The House will reject the Senate's changes Thursday, sending the budget to that committee. House Speaker Larry Householder said he expects to name conferees on Tuesday.

The compromise budget must pass both chambers and be signed by Gov. Mike DeWine by June 30.