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Sykes Condemns State Budget

June 30, 2023
Vernon Sykes News

Today, state Senator Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) issued the following statement after the Ohio Senate voted to accept conference committee changes to House Bill 33, the state operating budget.

 “Over the last six months, we have heard from thousands of concerned Ohioans who came to the General Assembly to ask us to create a budget that serves the needs and supports the aspirations of the people,” said Sykes. “To some extent, what the legislature passed today does this. We have continued the implementation of the Fair School Funding Plan, eliminated the retention component of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, funded a disparity study to assess the needs of minority- women- and veteran-owned businesses, fully restored funding for new Innovation Hubs, and provided free schools meal to children who previously qualified for a reduced price. 

“Yet in spite of these promising elements, H.B. 33 fails to deliver on its potential. From closed-door meetings to the ever-changing schedule, the people have not been able to access the decision-making process over how to spend their tax dollars. Instead of a budget that addresses the demands of the people who elected us to this body, it disproportionately serves the interests of the wealthy in this state over those we represent who have the least. I am disappointed in how this budget is a failure in process and in substance.”

House Bill 33 creates universal school vouchers, slashes nearly $1 billion from Medicaid, and cuts taxes to the benefit of Ohio’s wealthiest residents. Additionally, it contains a number of controversial policy provisions, including Senate Bill 1 to transfer almost all the powers of the state Board of Education, which is comprised primarily of elected members, to a new executive agency, as well as Senate Bill 117 to create new centers for “intellectual diversity” at five state universities.

House Bill 33 now heads to Governor DeWine for his signature. He may still line-item veto provisions of the budget.