Senate District 3
Tina Maharath
Maharath Announces Vote Against Senate's Version of State Budget
June 9, 2021
Today, state Senator Maharath (D-Canal Winchester) announced that she voted against House Bill 110, the state operating budget. All members of the Democratic Caucus joined in opposition. 

“This budget does not adequately fund our public schools. It worsens our childcare system and does not fund broadband expansion. It is for these reasons and more that I voted no,”Maharath said.

The budget passed by the Senate replaces the House-passed Fair School Funding Plan with a plan that:
-    Provides less on average for per-pupil funding;
-    Significantly expands private school voucher eligibility;
-    Disadvantages areas with high property wealth compared to residents’ income;
-    Allows a change in one district’s property values to impact the state share for every other district in the state. 

“A budget that prioritized working families would have included the Fair School Funding Plan as passed by the House, but instead the Senate continues to underfund public education,” Maharath said. “The school funding plan in this bill is less comprehensive than the House’s and would result in less money per student for schools that serve poor children and struggling families.”  

H. B. 110 also includes a 5% income tax cut, which will primarily benefit the wealthiest Ohioans. It makes retroactive changes to the municipal income tax, which will have a devastating impact on cities across Ohio.  While well intentioned, allowing those who worked remotely in a different jurisdiction than their primary workplace to file for refunds for both 2020 and 2021 presents cities with significant financial and administrative challenges.  

The bill also does not provide any new funding for broadband access and lowers the standards for childcare facilities in Ohio, removing the requirement that publicly funded childcare centers be rated by Step Up to Quality. Additionally, H. B. 110 includes a provision that would allow health care and insurance providers to decline to perform or pay for services based on their moral, ethical or religious beliefs – a change that could endanger lives and allow for discrimination against LGBTQ+ patients.

However, Maharath praised the inclusion of a number of beneficial provisions in the bill, such as the direct funding of all schools, which ensures that the cost of charter schools and vouchers is not taken from the budgets of school districts when students choose to go to private or charter schools. The state budget also raises the maximum income limit for initial childcare eligibility to 142% of the Federal Poverty Level and increases reimbursement rates for home- and community-based services, adult day care centers and residential services. Finally, the budget passed by the Senate expands the Program for Mentally Handicapped Children. 

“I am especially pleased to see the extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to one year after birth and my bill to designate May as Maternal Mortality Awareness Month included in the Senate’s version of the operating budget,” Maharath said. “Each of these will go a long way toward increasing access to health care and raising awareness of health-related issues that impact the lives of countless Ohioans every day.”

Senate Democrats believe that more work needs to be done during the conference committee to improve education, tax and childcare policies.
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