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Sykes Condemns Senate Budget

June 15, 2023
Vernon Sykes News

Today, state Senator Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) issued the following statement after the Ohio Senate voted to pass their version of House Bill 33, the state operating budget.

“The operating budget is the primary policy document and this legislature’s most important responsibility. We have a legal and moral obligation to produce a balanced budget,” said Sykes. “However, our obligation to have a balanced budget goes well beyond a mathematical calculation. We should also use available resources to do our best to balance priorities, needs and aspirations to maximize the current and future interests of the people of Ohio.”

Senator Sykes, who serves as the Ranking Member on the Senate Finance Committee, underscored the importance of investing resources in critical areas such as education, poverty alleviation, mental health and housing. Despite the significant revenues supporting this budget, Senator Sykes emphasized the pressing social and economic problems faced by Ohioans. He highlighted issues such as:

  • Poverty
  • Food assistance 
  • Housing shortages
  • Workforce shortages
  • Education attainment
  • Mental health disorders
  • Literacy challenges
  • Infant mortality rates

While he noted several positive areas of the Senate version of the operating budget, including Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) program, assistance to small businesses through funding of a disparity study, and support for public defenders and legal aid to economically disadvantaged families. He states that this budget failed to balance the needs of everyday Ohioans.

House Bill 33 now heads to the Ohio House. If the House does not concur with the Senate’s changes, the bill will go to the conference committee.