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Ohio Senate proposed more changes to state budget PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, June 05, 2013 12:12 AM


Associated Press


COLUMBUS — A proposal before a Republican-controlled Ohio Senate panel would give more money to schools in the state budget and keep a provision that would effectively defund Planned Parenthood by sending it to the back of the line for public family planning money.

The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday released its latest changes to the more than $61 billion, two-year spending plan. The panel is expected to vote on the measure today, with the full Senate voting Thursday. Senate passage would send the bill into compromise talks.

The latest package of changes would boost state spending on K-12 education by more than $717 million compared with the current budget, which ends June 30.

Schools would see an additional $141.6 million in direct state aid under the Senate plan, compared with the funding formula the House passed in its version of the budget.

Majority Republicans in the Senate also want to set aside an additional $50 million per year for the governor’s proposed Straight A fund, which will deliver grants to school districts for innovation and efficiency measures. Early childhood education would get an additional $20 million over the budget period, on top of the $10 million the House allotted.

A proposed amendment would set up spending requirements for schools that get money for economically- disadvantage students. The funding would have to be used on an extended school day or year, reading improvement, dropout prevention, school safety, instructional technology, or professional development in reading instruction for teachers of students in kindergarten through third grade.

Senators also added an amendment to make sure the director of JobsOhio and its employees and officers couldn’t be bribed. JobsOhio is a private entity formed by Republican Gov. John Kasich and approved by state lawmakers to spur economic development in the state.

Senate Finance Chairman Scott Oelslager said the technical change was made because bribery wasn’t defined under the law that created JobsOhio.

“There was a gap there we discovered, so we closed that loophole to make sure that nobody could take a bribe as part of JobsOhio,” Oelslager said. “And if they did, they would be prosecuted.”

State senators have already pulled what’s left of Kasich’s proposed income tax cut from the state budget in favor of tax relief targeted at small businesses. The Ohio House had retained 7 percent of the 20 percent permanent income tax cut originally proposed by Kasich.

Instead of taking up a broader income tax cut, the Senate opted to restore a small business benefit also proposed by Kasich. That proposal would allow individuals to deduct up to $375,000 in net annual business income for income tax purposes. The Senate tax break is worth roughly $1.4 billion, compared with the roughly $1.5 billion price tag for the House’s income tax plan.

The varying tax proposals will be hashed out when the two chambers come together later this month to reconcile their budget differences.

As anticipated, Senate budget changes have not included an expansion of Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul.

But because bills to change Medicaid have been introduced, the Senate pulled a House-added provision that would have required state lawmakers to present legislation by the end of the year.

Other proposed Senate changes would:

—Let public bodies meet in closed-door sessions to consider an application for economic development assistance.

—Ban cruel treatment of companion animals.

—Clarify that owners of spider monkeys would have to register the animals with the state, but still would exempt them from permit and caretaking rules.

—Establishes a $20 fee for people wanting to permanently register their dogs, along with other registration changes.

Last Updated on Wednesday, June 05, 2013 12:21 AM

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