Buckeye Institute Experts Weigh-In on Ohio Senate Passed Budget

Jun 21, 2017

Columbus, OH – The Ohio Senate passed its version of Ohio’s biennial budget this evening and experts from The Buckeye Institute issued their reactions on spending, the Senate’s Medicaid proposal, occupational licensing reform, and criminal justice reform. 

“The final Ohio Senate budget keeps spending on a tight leash by historical budget standards, which is a real accomplishment,” said Greg R. Lawson, research fellow at The Buckeye Institute. “However, there are many reductions that can still be made to assure the budget remains balanced. This could be especially important if revenues remain slower than anticipated and to assure for long-term sustainability of state budgets moving forward. We would hope some of these reductions will be considered in the conference committee.”

Senate’s Medicaid Proposal
“The Senate proposal to freeze Medicaid expansion is a prudent step to help focus Medicaid services on the needy,” said Rea S. Hederman Jr., executive vice president at The Buckeye Institute and a nationally recognized expert in healthcare policy. “Medicaid expansion enrollment has drastically exceeded expectations and an enrollment freeze will enable the state to refocus the program. The Senate should also add a Medicaid freeze to the Healthy Ohio waiver that is also in the budget.”

Senate’s Proposal Requiring State Agencies to Seek the Least Restrictive Occupational Licensing Requirements
“We are very pleased to see that the Senate has added a provision to the budget that will submit state agencies to efficiency reviews and that the Senate has made it clear they intend for occupational licensing requirements to be a part of those reviews,” said Greg R. Lawson, research fellow at The Buckeye Institute. “This provision will ensure state agencies impose the ‘least restrictive’ regulatory requirement when dealing with occupational licenses, which will help alleviate unnecessary burdens on thousands of Ohioans by making it easier for them to cut through state red tape and start working more quickly.”

Criminal Justice Reform
“When the Senate unveiled their budget last week we commended them for retaining the Target Community Alternatives to Prison (TCAP) program and we are pleased it was included in the final version of the Senate’s budget,” said Daniel J. Dew, criminal justice fellow at The Buckeye Institute’s Legal Center. “TCAP will enable counties to rehabilitate low-level, non-violent offenders in their communities, which studies have shown is more effective and less costly than prison. While participation will be voluntary for less populous counties, we anticipate counties will jump on board as judges and county officials see their sister counties benefiting from TCAP.”