Primer: Budget Bill Amendment Types


Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/plunderbund/webapps/bw/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/plunderbund/webapps/bw/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/plunderbund/webapps/bw/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/plunderbund/webapps/bw/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/plunderbund/webapps/bw/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

The clock is ticking for Democratic and Republican Representatives to submit amendments to Governor Kasich’s proposed budget.  The Chairman of the House Finance Committee has given a deadline of Friday, April 15th for Representatives to submit amendment proposals to him for consideration into the substitute budget bill. No one will know for sure what will be included in the final substitute version of the bill till it is accepted by the whole committee but we can take preview of what types of amendments we can expect to be included.

The amendment process is messy and confusing.  It all happens behind closed doors, at any given point in time no one knows what is all going to be included, and it is technically difficult. I thought it would be helpful to take a look at what type of amendments are going to be considered in the substitute version of the bill.  Below is a loose breakdown of the types of amendments that could be included in the final substitute bill. (This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list. Let me know in the comments if you think I have left anything out.)

House Member Changes– this is where the bulk of the amendments are going to come from.  They are going to be based on individual caucus members’ concerns with the budget.  They are going to either change provisions of the bill or add new provisions that were not originally included. This process is time consuming and messy.  Staff will have a limited amount of time to dig through each amendment, determine what it is dealing with, and to organize them into some sort of useful format that members of the leadership team will be able to use.

It is also important to keep in mind that the vast majority of policy changes and language changes that gets included in the substitute bill are written by either lobbyists or someone who is representing a constituency. It is very common for lobbyists to show up in a Representative’s office and discuss with the member a change they would like to see made in the bill. Most of the time they come with possible language that the member could give to the legislative service committee to be written into an amendment.

Administration Changes – these are language changes that either the Governor’s office wants to be seen made to the budget or that the departments want to see included.  When the administration is putting together their original budget proposal they try to include as many policy and fiscal recommendations that they can but sometimes things get left out.  This is an opportunity for departments to try and include some additional recommendations that were not included at all in the proposed budget or suggest a change that simply modifies existing language in the bill.

Pet projects & Earmarks – or as the rest of the political world knows them by, pork projects.  These are the pet projects, usually based in their districts, that a representative wants to see be given funding in the budget.  In the past, a popular place where one would find pork projects was in the old line item for the travel and tourism department budget.  It was common for members to take that pot of money and earmark a certain amount of funds for either one year, or for both years of the biennium, and direct funds to a specific project.  It will be interesting to see whether lawmakers will decide to enact new types of earmarks.

Changes to keep pace with federal law changes – a good portion of the amendments that will come from the administration, and it’s departments, are language changes that need to be made to keep Ohio in line with changes made at the federal level on all sorts of policy areas.  Sometimes these are language changes that will allow departments to continue to pull down available federal funds. Other times the changes have more to do with tax changes that the federal government has implemented.  It will be interesting to see what changes will be made due to the funding changes included in the federal budget agreement and whatever changes the House Republicans will want to see included in the upcoming vote to raise the debt ceiling.

Print Friendly

2 Comments

  1. Speaking of earmarks, it’ll be interesting to see if the legislature dedicates some state funding toward a Mental Health facility in Cleveland – something Governor Kasich portrays as an “informal agreement” but that legislators specifically dedicated $83.7 million toward in the last budget.

Trackbacks

  1. Rep. Goyal wants changes made to TPP and education cuts | Ohio Budget Watch

Leave a Response