Making the best state budget possible
Published 9:16 am Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The telephone does not stop ringing, the e-mails keep arriving and the requests for more things to put in the state operating budget are made.
The operating budget is a spending plan, and it is usually the biggest policy document during the two-year legislative session. It is the bill that efforts to re-elect and to challenge will be based on.
There has to be a budget in order to pay for things like health care for the poor and elderly, education, public safety and the general operation of government.
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I have been working alongside Speaker Batchelder, Finance Chairman Amstutz and many other colleagues to sift through the more than 1000 amendments we have already received.
Amendments are written ideas that are submitted to become part of the budget—the various changes we consider throughout the process. Some amendments can be small, such as allowing a school district to obtain a piece of property from the state to drill a well, while others can re-write the entire judicial code.
The challenge is for us to develop the best budget possible with the limited resources that are available. It is especially tough this time around because of an $8 billion hole left for us by the previous General Assembly.
I believe most people will view the House version of the budget as an improvement to the introduced version.
Hopefully, it will also improve as it is heard in the Senate and then improve again when the differences between the House and Senate are resolved in the joint conference committee.
We are constantly striving to make the bill better.
Although I am sure I will not get everything that I would like to see in the budget, it is a process that continues. The House version is only part of the process, and I will continue to be engaged in making it better for all Ohioans as we move toward the final bill in June.
Hundreds of witnesses have come to testify on the budget. It is a public document, and once the House version is introduced, more public hearings will be held. I enjoy hearing from my constituents on the various ways we can make the budget the best document for the people of this state.
I encourage you to view the budget—House Bill 153—in its current form at www.legislature.state.oh.us.
I also hope you’ll consider attending the following hearings on the budget:
Friday, April 29 – 9 a.m. in Statehouse Room 313
Saturday, April 30 – 10 a.m. in Statehouse Room 313
Monday, May 2 – 10 a.m. in Statehouse Room 313.
John Carey serves in Ohio’s 87th District of the House of Representatives, which includes eastern Lawrence County. He may be reached at (614) 466-1366 or by writing to: Ohio House of Representatives, 77 South High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215. He can also be reached via e-mail his office at District87@ohr.state.oh.us.