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Buckeye Institute Experts Weigh-In on Budget Conference Committee Report

Jun 28, 2017

Columbus, OH – The Senate and House have passed the Budget Conference Committee Report and experts from The Buckeye Institute issued their reactions. 

“The final version of the state budget that is heading to Governor Kasich’s desk is one of the best budgets we have seen in a while in Ohio,” said Greg R. Lawson, research fellow at The Buckeye Institute. “While there could have been greater spending reductions, along with greater reform of school funding and local taxes, there was solid spending restraint and efforts to contain Medicaid spending – the ‘Pac-Man’ of Ohio’s budget. These are all noteworthy accomplishments.”

Several major policies The Buckeye Institute has advocated for made it through the legislative process, including:

  • Greater spending restraint;
  • Making it clear that the policy of the state is to seek the least restrictive regulations when dealing with occupational licensing;
  • Several key criminal justice reforms;
  • Reform to business municipal income tax filing;
  • Freezing Medicaid expansion enrollment; and
  • Setting a deadline for applying for a state innovation waiver in order to regain some control over Ohio’s health insurance marketplace.

Spending

“The budget keeps a tighter rein on spending than most recent budgets, with all funds spending in fiscal years 2018 and 2019 increasing by 2.4 percent and 2.1 percent respectively. When looking at just state general revenues, Ohio will spend less in FY2019 than it was projected to spend by the end of the current fiscal year on June 30,” said Lawson. “This move to a more sustainable level of state spending will help secure prosperity for Ohioans and their children.”

Medicaid

“The General Assembly took a bold step in ensuring that needy Ohioans can get access to the medical care they need. The Assembly’s budget calls for changes to the Medicaid program that will boost health care savings for many Medicaid recipients and help move them into private coverage,” said Rea S. Hederman Jr., executive vice president at The Buckeye Institute and a nationally recognized expert in healthcare policy. “Ohio became the first state in the nation to call for a freeze on the Medicaid expansion population, which will focus the program on the truly needy and encourage able bodied adults to return to work. Medicaid enrollment has exceeded forecasts on both enrollment and costs, and this budget will help make the program sustainable for the future.”

Criminal Justice

“At every step of the budget process, starting with Governor Kasich’s original budget through conference committee, Ohio policymakers showed devotion to providing tools and resources to make Ohio communities safer and save taxpayer dollars through criminal justice reform,” said Daniel J. Dew, legal fellow at The Buckeye Institute’s Legal Center. “When society sends low-level offenders to prison, taxpayers pay a hefty bill only to see these people come back to our communities alienated from society and more dangerous than when they went in. The governor, the Senate, and the House all recognize that Ohioans deserve a better return on their investment.”

Dew continued, “By providing resources to Ohio communities, the budget’s Target Community Alternatives to Prison (TCAP) program will allow local judges, law enforcement, and prosecutors to get low-level offenders, many of whom are struggling with addiction and mental health issues, the treatment necessary to help prevent a life of hardened crime. TCAP has been a success in the eight pilot program counties, and as it is adopted around the state, Ohioans everywhere will reap the benefits of evidence-based policy.”

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