Veto avoided, lawmakers send financial help to counties/transit authorities

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – Last minute changes to a non-controversial bill caused a bit of a stir with some Republicans at the Ohio Statehouse Wednesday afternoon.

House Bill 69 was supposed to be a non-controversial bill that dealt with how local emergency and fire levies interact with TIF districts.

Pretty basic stuff really, but then an amendment was added to the bill at the last minute that had nothing to do with the bill itself. The amendment gives counties and transit authorities up to $80 million in short-term relief. They need the relief because the federal government no longer allows sales tax to be applied to Medicaid managed care organizations.

The legislature tried to fix this with financial help in the budget to the tune of $207 million, but Governor Kasich vetoed the assistance.

Wednesday’s amendment would move a deal that has made between lawmakers, the governor’s administration, and municipalities closer to being a reality. If signed by the governor, $50 million would be sent right away, and up to another $30 million would be provided in July of next year.

After the bill was passed by the Senate, it was immediately sent to the House so they could vote on if they agreed to the amendment. Some Republicans who voted for the original bill voted against it this time. State Representative Jim Butler voted ‘No,’ because the money to pay the counties and transit authorities is being pulled from the state’s Unclaimed Funds fund.

“Raiding a fund to pay for ongoing health care spending is not wise, especially when we are not doing enough to enact reforms to control the actual health care costs,” Butler said.

A handful of lawmakers joined Butler in voting against concurrence on the Senate amendments.

The bill passed anyway and is now on its way to the governor’s desk.

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