Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signs state budget with 14 veto
Ohio’s two-year budget was signed, sealed and delivered in the wee hours of the morning Thursday.
The $ 74.1 billion spending envelope rewrote how the state will pay for K-12 education, granted income tax cuts totaling more than $ 1.6 billion dollars and gave permission to varsity athletes earn money through their image.
“The new operating budget will help the people of Ohio by investing in our communities, our businesses and our economy,” Governor Mike DeWine said in a statement released at 1:50 am.
Yet the governor did not like everything about the 3,300-page budget. He vetoed 14 elements of the final draft, including a controversial provision allowing state lawmakers to hire outside counsel during the redistribution process.
Read DeWine’s Full Veto Message Below
The Ohio House and Senate can override any or all of the governor’s vetoes. It is not yet clear if this is something they intend to do. So, for now, here are some of the more notable things DeWine cut from the budget:
COVID-19 fines: The governor vetoed a section of the budget that would have returned around $ 100,000 to companies that were fined for violating health orders during the pandemic.
“This article sends the message that these responsible business owners are not as appreciated as the few companies that have failed, sometimes repeatedly, to take action to protect their employees and customers from the spread of this deadly disease.” , wrote DeWine.
Legal intervention by the General Assembly: The budget gave the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House (both currently Republicans) permission to spend state dollars on hiring lawyers to defend their positions in any redistribution lawsuits that may arise.
Supporters like President Senator Matt Huffman have said it gives lawmakers a seat at the negotiating table, but opponents said it was an unfair interference in the redistribution process.
DeWine agreed, saying the state attorney general had requested the veto.
“The Governor and Attorney General are empowered by the Ohio Constitution to defend and enforce the laws of Ohio,” DeWine wrote. “These amendments impermissibly undermine those responsibilities.”
Medicaid Pricing and Managed Care Provisioning: DeWine removed a section that would have changed the way the state awards their care contracts.
“The language would force Medicaid to award contracts to certain companies without requiring them to demonstrate their ability to meet the medical needs of Ohioans,” DeWine wrote.
He also removed another provision to codify certain Medicaid program tariffs into law.
Open meeting violations: Governor deleted language creating complaints court procedure for violations of the Open Assembly Act.
School vouchers: This was a partial veto of a section on how Ohio awards its two different types of EdChoice scholarships that DeWine said would create a fairer process.
Payments in care facilities: This wording would have excluded a nursing facility from quality incentive payments in fiscal years 2022 and / or 2023 if the facility was on certain lists.
Reduced CAT administration costs: The section reportedly reduced the amount the Revenue Department received each fiscal year to cover the costs of administering the business activity tax.
“This element will hamper the ability of the Department of Taxes to perform its collection and enforcement functions, which could potentially impact state revenue,” DeWine wrote.
Drug reimbursement program: DeWine vetoed a section of the bill that he said would limit reimbursement for the Psychotropic Drug Reimbursement Program to county jails that already participate in the program.
“By limiting the earmarked funds, this item 6 excludes jails in eight Ohio counties that primarily serve the Appalachian Ohio that could benefit from the program,” DeWine wrote.
This story will be updated.
Anna Staver is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal, and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.