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Medicaid changes: The conference committee approved the Senate's freeze on Medicaid expansion enrollment as of July 1, 2018, a move Democrats say will harm Ohio residents left with no health insurance.
In 2013, Ohio’s Medicaid coverage was expanded to more people as part of the Affordable Care Act. That expansion now covers more than 725,500 people.
Education: The committee also agreed to change graduation requirements for students in the Class of 2018 who don't pass new state tests. They can still graduate if they meet certain other criteria.
Wright-Patterson: The committee allocated some funding to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, providing $250,000 in each of the two budget years to help pay for financing infrastructure improvements in preparation for possible Base Closure and Realignment Commission Actions.
It’s less than the $2 million Wright-Patt supporters in the House had added to their budget after the Ohio Military Facilities Commission gave $5 million to facilities in Toledo and Mansfield but nothing to Wright-Patt.
“I think that in the fiscal strain that the state is in we’re happy to get any money in that will go to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,” said State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg.
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The six-member Ohio legislature’s conference committee resolved differences between the $132.7 billion 2018-19 budget approved by the Ohio Senate last week and the $122.9 billion version approved by the Ohio House.
The Senate-passed budget has a 2.7 percent increase in spending of all funds for fiscal year 2018, compared to a 4.8 percent decrease in the House budget. For fiscal year 2019 the Senate increases spending by 1.5 percent and the House by 1.3 percent.
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Legislators are grappling with a $1.05 billion projected revenue shortfall over the biennium, which is being covered through budget cuts and other changes.
There were hundreds of line items that differed between the two bills, along with the actual spending amounts.
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The Ohio Constitution requires that the budget be balanced and in place by July 1. Kasich would need to decide to sign it or veto items in the budget by June 30. The legislature could vote to override his vetoes any time during the current General Assembly session, said Emmalee Kalmbach, spokeswoman for Kasich.
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Democrat amendments go down
As the committee went through amendments Tuesday night they approved those offered by Republicans and tabled the ones from Democrats, including ones that would have increased funding for schools, human services safety net programs and the battle against opioid addiction. Republicans control the legislature and the conference committee is made up of four Republicans and two Democrats.
“A budget that’s built on broken economic assumptions and ideology - instead of fact and reality - isn’t a real budget at all – it’s fake,” said Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire, Ranking House Democrat on the conference committee, in an emailed statement. “One-time money and shell games are a recipe for economic instability and even deeper financial problems for hardworking taxpayers in the coming months and years.”
John Fortney, spokesman for Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, defended the budget.
“We are grateful for the committee’s work and firmly believe this is a balanced budget that is responsible to the taxpayers,” Fortney said.
Ohio lawmakers took action on the state budget into the night Tuesday. Check our Ohio Politics Facebook page and our @Ohio_Politics Twitter page for the latest developments. Also, tell us what issues you want the state to focus on.