By Julie Carr Smyth
COLUMBUS: Ohio representatives from both political parties criticized Republican Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday for saddling them with a mid-term budget bill heavily loaded with disparate proposals they called unsuited to a non-budget year.
Rep. Terry Boose, a Norwalk Republican, said Kasich’s practice of introducing voluminous off-year budgets in a state accustomed to a two-year cycle has effectively allowed him to take control of the state’s legislative branch. Boose’s remarks came Wednesday before the House voted 57-33 to pass the measure.
The 1,620-page document Kasich introduced earlier this year was the second of its kind since he took office in 2011, mirroring the annual federal budgets he oversaw as U.S. House finance chairman in the 1990s.
House Democrats were particularly upset over a last-minute amendment to the largest of the bills that changed campaign finance law. The bill lifts a disclosure requirement applied to independent political expenditures and relaxes political-giving restrictions on state contractors.
A spokesman for Kasich said that the administration is going to “keep pushing for the reforms necessary to help lift Ohioans.”
“If there are legislators who think that the state is fixed and there’s nothing more to do, then they should stay at home, sit on their couches and not show up for work. We disagree,” said spokesman Rob Nichols.
Among its provisions, the legislation includes more money to family and children services and bolsters efforts to combat drug abuse.
Other bills before the House addressed taxes, workers’ compensation, higher education, workforce training and other issues.
An amendment to one bill that would have allowed chiropractors to return young athletes to play after they suffer concussions was removed on the floor Wednesday.
Another last-minute amendment had been removed Tuesday that would have stripped 10 percent of local government funding from counties that violate a state law on distributing absentee ballots.
The proposal faced a flood of criticism — including from Kasich, Secretary of State Jon Husted and Kasich’s presumptive Democratic rival in the November election, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.