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Every June of an odd numbered year (such as 2015), we learn most of what we need to know about Ohio government and Ohio politics. Ohio has a two-year budget and the authorizing language must be passed by June 30 of each odd numbered year. So in January of that odd numbered year, the Governor presents his budget outline. The House debates and passes its version in April/May, and the Senate debates and passes its version in May/June. The House/Senate conference passes its version in late June, and then the Governor issues line-item vetoes before signing by June 30.

One of the top budget issues this year is the Oil and Gas Severance Tax. The Governor's budget contained a modest version that was removed by the House. Now, the Senate is considering including its own version of the severance tax in its rewrite which may be presented as soon as today. Tom Suddes at The Plain Dealer discussed some of the dynamics in this Opinion piece. Tom is an old friend from my days at the state house, and nobody better understands Ohio politics.

“Among other things, the House denied Kasich a fracking tax. And the House aims to cut Ohio's income tax by less than Kasich wants. That gives Faber's (Senate President) caucus lots of options. The dicey part, for Senate Republicans, is to do enough to help Kasich save face without deadlocking a Senate-House conference committee that'll write a budget compromise. (Faber and Rosenberger, the House Speaker, will decide what it writes.) Each chamber will have three budget conferees – two Republicans, one Democrat. A compromise requires "yes" votes from two conferees per chamber before the Senate and House may vote on it.”

The Republicans control all three budget players (House, Senate, Governor). The next 20 days will not reveal partisan insights as much as the dynamics within the GOP and the standing of various personalities and interests. Stay Tuned!
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