FEATURED PHOTO: OHIO SENATE FINANCE CHAIRMAN MATT DOLAN R-CHAGRIN FALLS
Ideastream.org, By Karen Kasler, Posted June 24th 2019
The Senate budget passed unanimously last week. Some things did not change – such as the money that goes to a fund that’s been decimated over the last eight years.
The initial Senate budget would have cut taxes by $700 million over two years, restore the $40 million film tax credit and put $172 million into the H2Ohio water quality fund. It also would provide a $5 million bump to Local Government Fund.
Senate Finance Chairman Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) said there would be more money going to specific separate local items, such as communications systems for first responders and court costs for low-income Ohioans.
“To me, it’s not the amount. It’s the recognition that we are partners in the distribution of government services,” Dolan said.
Senate President Larry Obhof said there are no plans to bring the Local Government Fund back up to where it was eight years ago. Cities that fund has been cut in half since then.
The budget also does not include $36 million that mental health and suicide prevention advocates were hoping would be restored. That money would been split between treatment and prevention for kids and anti-stigma multi-media campaigns.
Republican Senate Finance Chair Matt Dolan said Senators believe in the cause that Gov. Mike DeWine’s budget funded with that money, but instead put it into existing programs on prevention and mental health and into help for multi-system youth.
“I presume the Governor is going to want at least a portion of that $36 million back. But I think when he sees where we spent it, hopefully that will give him pause to say, well, that’s a worthwhile endeavor as well.”
Dolan says Gov. Mike DeWine’s $550 million for counseling, mental health and other wraparound services in low-income schools will help too. But Dolan says there are concerned about how that half a billion dollars will be administered, so the Senate diverted $125 million the House added to that into vouchers and aid to fast-growing districts.