Lawmakers comment on state budget bill

Staff Writer

Area legislators had mixed reviews for the state's two-year, $69 billion operating budget that now goes to Gov. Mike DeWine for his signature.
The Senate on Wednesday voted 29-1 in favor of a conference committee report approved the day before.
Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R - Bowling Green) said the bill benefits schools and Lake Erie among other areas.
She cited major provisions, including:
• Funds for the H2Ohio program designed to improve water quality of the lake
• A 4 percent across-the-board income tax cut
• Increases in funding for primary, secondary and higher education
• Funding for public libraries and local governments. "I am proud that we could come together in a bipartisan way to pass a balanced budget that provides crucial services for the people of Ohio," said Gavarone. "As a result of our work, we will see improvements to the water quality in Lake Erie, better funding for schools, more take-home pay for Ohioans, and numerous other reforms that continue to make Ohio a great place to live, work, and raise a family."
Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) cast the sole 'no' vote.
"While I worked hard for and celebrate the Toledo-area projects that received funding in the budget, I was unable to support this bill. I am disappointed that we have failed to take this opportunity to address the fundamental flaws in our public education system," she said. "We continue to continue to relegate our state to an endless pattern of reforming our reforms."
State Rep. Mike Sheehy (D-Oregon) voted in support of the finalized version of the budget, but said he was frustrated with a provision establishing the state as the only entity with standing to act on behalf of an ecosystem.
"I'm thrilled to see $172 million in this budget going to water quality efforts in Ohio. I was far less thrilled to find that in exchange, we're forced to sacrifice the right of counties and local governments to protect their citizens from out-of-control polluters," said Sheehy. "I supported this budget to avoid a shutdown and to support family farms doing their best to protect Lake Erie. Now, it's time to crack down on those corporate factory farms that continue to obstruct that progress."



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