On Thursday, the Ohio Senate unanimously passed the state’s two-year, $69 billion budget bill, House Bill 166.
“While I’m encouraged by the compromises made and collaborative work done during this budget process, we are still failing to address our state’s struggling school districts and our flawed school takeover system,” said state Senator Vernon Sykes (D-Akron). “It is our duty, as lawmakers, to ensure that every child in Ohio receives a quality education and has the tools they need to succeed. We must continue to work with administrators, teachers and advocates from across the state to address school takeovers and find an alternative to our current system. While the status quo remains unacceptable, I remain optimistic that the conference committee will address these critical issues, among others.”
Sykes applauded the inclusion of several local investments he secured in the bill:
- $600,000 for the Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit County
- Increases to Ohio’s Local Government Fund
- Increases to Ohio foodbanks, which would go, in part, to the Akron-Canton Foodbank
- Increases to the local library fund, which would go, in part, to Akron-Summit County Public Library locations
The bipartisan budget also includes longstanding Democratic priorities. HB 166 increases funding for affordable housing programs through the Ohio Housing Trust Fund. It 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. It also funds the H2Ohio water quality initiative through the next two years.
House and Senate members will now meet to negotiate a final version of the bill before the state-mandated June 30 deadline.