House to vote on rich vs. the rest budget

At this hour, members of the Ohio House of Representatives are preparing for a long session to debate and ultimately vote on the Governor’s two-year budget plan, HB 59.

While the Governor’s top ideas were scrapped in House amendments, the budget is still tilted toward the rich and powerful, at the expense of everyone else.

Just to recap, here are some of the features of the budget that will be voted on today:

  • Spends $1.5 billion, including one-time money, on a $51 yearly tax cut for Ohioans making $40,000, while the richest pocket nearly $2,000.
  • Provides less for education than the Governor proposed and cuts funding for 127 school districts.
  • Reduces state funding to local governments by $1.4 billion.
  • Rejects a modest increase in Ohio’s tax on oil and gas drillers, resulting in a windfall for Big Oil while communities feel the impacts of increased fracking activity.
  • Denies healthcare coverage to Ohio’s poorest by blocking Medicaid expansion, threatening hospital jobs and driving up insurance rates. It is estimated that expansion could save nearly 10,000 lives over three years.
  • Blocks family planning funds from family planning providers like Planned Parenthood.
  • Mandates abstinence-based sex-ed without mention of “gateway sexual activity” and gags teachers with the treat of $5,000 fines
  • Disenfranchises Ohio’s youth by effectively preventing public universities from providing required proof-of-address for students.
  • Sets the stage for a state takeover of school districts including Columbus.

House session is schedule to begin at approximately 12:30, though its start time may be delayed as caucus meetings are held. Watch live on the Ohio Channel and follow us on Twitter for play by play.