Democrats offer ideas to fix the state budget

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The Senate Democrats put out a press release today highlighting some of the 300 amendments they submitted for inclusion in the substitute budget bill, set to be unveiled next Tuesday or Wednesday. Here are the highlights as they described them:

Primary and Secondary Education

  • Remove language allowing a community school to operate without a sponsor.
  • Remove language permitting “entities” or “groups of individuals” to form community schools.
  • Maintain caps on vouchers to limit the financial impact on public school districts.
  • Limit eligibility for Ed-choice vouchers to students at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
  • Restore the ability of school officials to rehire laid-off teachers based upon seniority.
  • Restore collective bargaining rights for community school employees.

State Government Assets

  • Eliminate sale or lease of turnpike language.
  • Remove language allowing Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, or any other state agent to sell the state’s prisons.
  • Prohibits any drilling in Ohio’s state parks.

Human Services

  • Department of Developmental Disabilities County Board Subsidies: increase funding by $39.2 million each fiscal year (drawing down more than $70 million in federal dollars).
  • Help Me Grow: restore funding in FY12 and 13.
  • Kinship Permanency Incentive Program: increase funding by $5 million in FY12, and $4 million in FY13.
  • Mental health treatment services: increase funding by $13.6 million each fiscal year.
  • Allow area agencies on aging to continue to administer PASSPORT.

Local Governments

  • Delete regional transit authority membership provision language.
  • Remove estate tax repeal language.
  • Increase funding for public transportation

Consumers Protections

  • Restore funding, advocacy ability and operation of call center to the Ohio Consumer’s Counsel.
  • Regulate residential mortgage servicers.
  • Restore funding to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.
  • Restore funding to the Ohio Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs.

Working Families

  • Enacts unemployment modernization to bring in additional federal funding.
  • Require compliance with MBE and EDGE requirements.
  • Remove SB5 “look-alike” language for teachers.
  • Removes language that allows for non-compliance with prevailing wage laws

I like the fixes for charter school accountability and reeling in the administration on its out of control privatization plans for state assets, including the turnpike. I’m disappointed they didn’t take my ideas for settling the casino mess and getting some job creation going in our cities.

Enjoy it now because hardly any of these will ever see the light of day, worthy as they may be. We would include a list of Republican amendments except that with a few exceptions, they weren’t released to the press today. We’ll all know soon enough since that list will closely resemble the list of accepted amendments we should see next week.


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  1. Senate to put finishing touches on budget | Ohio Budget Watch

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