Sykes, Democrats Praise Passage of State Budget Bill
June 20, 2019
Today, the Ohio Senate unanimously passed the state’s two-year, $69 billion budget bill, House Bill 166.
“In stark contrast to the past administration’s budgets, the other side of the aisle has worked closely with us to prioritize Ohio’s kids and families,” said Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights). “There’s still work to do before June 30, but we believe that this budget is a step in the right direction.”
Senate Democrats touted the inclusion of many provisions considered longstanding Democratic priorities, but cautioned that more work must be done in conference committee to fully address education, tax and health care policies.
“I’m encouraged by the compromises that have happened, the progress we’ve made and the path we have chosen during this budget process,” said state Senator and Finance Ranking Member Vernon Sykes (D-Akron). “As it relates to addressing our state’s struggling school districts and our flawed school takeover system, I am troubled that we are still at an impasse. The status quo is unacceptable, but I remain hopeful that the conference committee will address these critical issues, among others.”
The budget bill includes various measures aimed at supporting Ohio’s children and families, like a proposal to prevent the custody relinquishment of children with severe mental health issues and additional funding for home-living programs for low income and elderly Ohioans.
“I’m pleased to say that this is the first budget I’ve voted in favor of since taking office nearly a decade ago,” said state Senator and Finance committee member Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood). “For years, we’ve urged our Republican colleagues to invest in public health in order to build a stronger Ohio. In this budget, we see real investments in infant mortality reduction, healthy moms, lead abatement programs, wrap-around services, multi-system youth and strategies to address the opioid crisis.”
The bill also increases funding for local governments and for affordable housing programs, and invests in the H2Ohio water quality initiative.
“I’ve appreciated the openness of this budget and the Senate’s ability to work across the aisle in partnership,” said state Senator and Finance committee member Sean J. O’Brien (D-Bazetta). “We have a budget that reflects the needs of everyday Ohioans more than any budget in the last decade. We’re investing more in our communities, our libraries and our families. We look forward to continuing this work and improving the bill further in conference committee.”
Senate and House members will now meet to negotiate a final version of the bill before the state-mandated June 30 deadline.