Here’s our weekly update on where things stand with state budget negotiations. Maybe by next week we can stop talking about the transportation budget, which was supposed to have been signed into law on Sunday. Hopefully?
The House and Senate remain deadlocked on how much to raise the state’s gas tax after blowing through their weekend deadline to fund the Department of Transportation. Both chambers passed smaller tax increases than Governor DeWine requested, but on Friday, the House and Governor reached a deal for an 11-cent increase. Senate Republicans, who already passed a 6-cent tax increase say that’s too much, so talks continue. The two sides did agree to a major increase in spending on public transit — up from $40 million to $70 million annually.
The gas tax (and whether there will be electric vehicle fees or a front license plate requirement) still needs to be worked out, hopefully in a conference committee meeting happening today at 1pm.
The Fair School Funding Plan is out, and with it are the simulations showing how much additional revenue school each district in the State would get in the first two years of its phased-in implementation. The plan would base funding for schools on the actual cost of providing an education, factoring in the ability of the district to raise money locally, and adding additional funding for high-poverty, gifted, special ed and English language learners.
By year 2, the plan would increase school district funding by $718 million, while creating a separate line item to directly fund charter schools, a major win for public school advocates. No district loses money under the plan, but some districts see no new revenue, largely to hold them harmless if the new formula says they should lose funding due to shrinking enrollments.
More hearings and tweaks are expected as the plan is considered in parallel to the state budget (HB166). If it becomes part of the budget plan, lawmakers will need to find additional revenue to fund it, something we’ve been very clear is needed
On the budget itself, this week subcommittees continue hearing agency testimon, with an opportunity for public testimony expected next week.
You can see all our budget updates and analysis, as well as outside news and editorial opinions on our new new Budget Central website.