Every two years Ohio’s General Assembly and Governor are called upon to pass a biennial budget bill that funds the operations of the state. The Governor proposes the bill, which is introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives and is considered for several months before being sent to the Senate. This General Assembly’s budget bill is House Bill 49. The House completed its consideration of House Bill 49 a few weeks ago. The Senate has had only a brief time to work on it because the bill must be finalized by the end of June.
Perhaps more so than any other legislative action, the biennial budget bill reflects the priorities of the state and determines the course of its agencies for the next two years. The budget funds state agencies and social services at both the state and local levels. The bill will include a funding formula for Ohio’s school systems, and it will allocate the resources needed to fund that formula. It also reflects legislative choices about tax policy, the size and scope of government and the role of government in the economy.
Each bill is unique and each is influenced by economic and fiscal conditions, which vary from year to year. While each bill presents its own set of challenges, each also presents an opportunity for the Senate to make sure Ohio keeps moving in the right fiscal direction.
One priority for me during this process, has been to continue the Senate’s efforts to identify alternative fuel sources, incentivizing clean fuel, realize emission reductions, fuel costs savings and job creation by helping business fleets get more alternative fueled vehicles on the road. Specifically, reducing the barrier for school districts use of alternative fuel vehicles for student transportation, as it relates to clean energy, we have focused on innovation, energy independence and a competitive marketplace.
One thing is certain, though: the Ohio Senate will pass a balanced budget. We have rolled up our sleeves and are working hard to be a voice for those we represent. You, the taxpayers, should settle for nothing less. I welcome your input on the biennial budget or on any other bill. If you have questions, or if you have any ideas that you would like to share, you can reach me by phone at (614) 466-3780 or email at Hackett@OhioSenate.gov.