COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Gov. Mike DeWine laid out his budget plan in his State of the State address Tuesday afternoon and while both Democrats and Republicans said they align with many of DeWine’s proposals, leaders from both parties said it is all going to be about the details.
“I am delighted with what the governor talked about today,” Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said. “There are obviously many details we have to work out.”
“There is certainly alignment between Republicans and Democrats,” Minority Leader Representative Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) said. “So, I am optimistic that we will get to some version of a bipartisan bill that has votes from both sides of the aisle.”
Russo said despite there being positives to the proposal, there are some things she was listening for but did not hear.
“There was a lot of talk about school safety which all of us value, we want to have safe school buildings,” Russo said. “But without addressing the issue of gun violence in communities, that is a tremendous oversight.”
Across the chamber, Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) said she wants to make sure this budget supports the 800,000 Ohioans who are at risk of being removed from Medicaid due to the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
“We prioritize strengthening our healthcare system,” Antonio said. “This means maintaining access to Medicaid for our low-income workers.”
On the Republican side, Huffman said overall, he is “delighted” with the proposal. He said he specifically supports the aspects that help families and children, plus the homeownership tax credit proposal, but said he does have one concern.
“The thing I am concerned about is an expansion of the state credit for apartments versus home ownership,” Huffman said. “And I’ve had that discussion with lots of folks over the years, so we’ll be working on that.”
Speaker of the House Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) did not talk to the media, but released this statement in response to the State of the State address:
“The Ohio House of Representatives looks forward to reviewing Governor Mike DeWine’s priorities in more detail. I applaud the investment in the people of our great state. Good fiscal stewardship requires that we must look beyond a two-year budget cycle to ensure sustainability and solvency for the State of Ohio. It’s time for the People’s House to get to work.”
Representative Derek Merrin (R- Monclova Township), who said he is the leader of the Republican caucus, did talk to reporters.
“We want everyone to be on the same page,” Merrin said. “But I believe the House Republicans are ready to work with the governor.”
The budget will start in the Ohio House for lawmakers to adjust before heading to the Ohio Senate, likely near the end of April.