COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — With House passage of Ohio's latest state budget Thursday, the crafting of a final spending blueprint for the two years beginning July 1 is about halfway complete.
Here's a look at where things stood after Thursday's vote:
THE PARTY DYNAMICS
Gov. John Kasich is a Republican. So are majorities of both legislative chambers. But that hasn't meant universal agreement on budget matters. Kasich's budget proposed expanding Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul, a new school funding formula and significant tax reform. The GOP-dominated House sidelined Medicaid expansion, scrapped much of Kasich's tax overhaul and significantly reworked his proposal for funding schools.
House Democrats might have been enticed to favor a budget containing Medicaid expansion promoted by Democratic President Barack Obama as well as Kasich's tax hike on oil and gas drillers. However, they signaled early they wouldn't give any votes to Kasich's budget plan, effectively hobbling their negotiating power, at least in the House.
— Statewide income tax reduction of 7 percent, down from Kasich's proposed 20 percent.
— More basic per-pupil aid to school districts, up from Kasich's $5,000 per student to $5,732 in the first year and $5,789 in the second year of the budget, and more money for pupil transportation. Cuts to add-ons Kasich proposed for such areas as special education and gifted learning, and cuts to his competitive Straight A Fund for innovation combine for a slight overall reduction in education spending by the House.
— Additional $30 million per year for nursing homes that meet certain quality of care standards.
— Additional $6 million per year for providers in the PASSPORT in-home nursing care program.
— Property tax exemption for charitable fraternal organizations, including the Masons.
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