House Bill 59 passes the Senate, heads for conference committee

by Policy Matters Ohio on June 11th, 2013
June 11th, 2013
   

There have been significant policy changes since the governor introduced his budget proposal on February 4, most notably the elimination of Medicaid expansion, but the budget has otherwise remained in remarkably stable condition as it moved through the General Assembly.

Last week, the Ohio Senate passed its version of House Bill 59, the state’s budget for the next two years. The Senate’s budget proposal totals $120.5 billion, with 10.6 percent growth over the current biennial budget, and is very similar in total spending to what the House passed. (State fiscal years run from July 1 to June 30; HB 59 covers state fiscal years 2014 and 2015.)

There have been significant policy changes since the governor introduced his budget proposal on February 4, most notably the elimination of Medicaid expansion, but the budget has otherwise remained in remarkably stable condition as it moved through the General Assembly. House Bill 59 as passed by the Senate is $1.7 billion (1.4 percent) smaller than the executive budget proposal, primarily because of removal of federal funds associated with the governor’s proposed expansion of Medicaid, part of the broader federal health reform underway. 

Between the introduction of the executive budget and passage of the Senate version, changes to proposed appropriations include the following:

  • $16 million more for activities related to economic development and commerce;
  • $13.7 million less for K-12, higher education and workforce training;
  • $11.5 million drop for natural resources, although fees are supposed to backfill for oil and gas program functions, from which most of these reductions stem;
  • $35 million increase for corrections and judiciary, 80 percent of which backfills for federal funding lost to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections when Medicaid expansion was removed;
  • 6.5 percent increase for administration and miscellaneous;
  • $1.8 billion less for health and human services.

Figure 1 shows that, despite the many policy changes, the general level of appropriations remained stable as House Bill 59  moved through the General Assembly.  

The bill now moves to the conference committee, where differences between the House and Senate versions will be reconciled and finalized. The bill will then go to the governor to be signed, and go into effect July 1, 2013. 

Table 2 shows the line items that had fiscal changes in the Senate version of the budget bill. 

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