Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Happy New Year! (and yes, we know it's July)

Today marks the first day of state Fiscal Year 2009, which runs July 1, 2008 – June 30, 2009. And while there was no official countdown or ball that dropped on Capitol Square, reaching the mid-way point of the biennium should still be cause for celebration.

The FY 2008-2009 state budget enacted almost unanimously a year ago includes significant strides for health and human services. SCHIP eligibility was extended to insure another 20,000 Ohio children in the largest Medicaid expansion in over a decade. Tuition was frozen at Ohio’s public universities. New investments in early care and education programs totaled nearly $300 million. Even with a worsening economic forecast, these accomplishments were preserved in the Capitol Budget/ Budget Corrections bill signed by Governor Strickland last week.

But like a New Year’s Eve party, the celebration will be short lived. The planned phase in of the 2005 tax reforms will continue to erode tax collections. Economic realities have caused OBM to lower revenue estimates. Meanwhile, demand for state services is on the rise. As advocates across the state prepare for the next biennium budget, we will need to keep our priorities in front of us.

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