Ohio’s State Budget Process and It's Impact on Ohio Agriculture
On Monday, February 1st Governor DeWine debuted his proposal for the Fiscal Year 2022 – 2023 budget for the state of Ohio. This launches a process that will culminate with a state budget signed by the Governor by July 1, 2021.
Over the next five months, the state legislature will manage the process of drafting and finalizing the state budget. This process includes hearing testimony from various members of the DeWine administration and interested parties (including the public). The Ohio House of Representatives will introduce a “Budget Bill” that will essentially be their vision for the 2-year state operating budget, incorporating components of Gov. DeWine’s proposed budget. The House will hold numerous hearings on all segments of the budget and will vote on and accept numerous amendments to the bill. Ultimately the House will pass their version and it will go to the Senate, where the process continues.
The Senate will hold their own hearings and submit their own amendments, ultimately passing the revised bill. The Senate-passed bill, which inevitably will look different than the House-passed version, will then need to be “accepted” by the House. Typically, this is more challenging than the average bill and requires a special conference committee that will meet and come to agreement on the differences between the two versions. Once agreement is found, both the House and the Senate vote on this final version before it goes to the Governor. Gov. DeWine will have the opportunity for a line-item veto on parts of the bill that do not fit his policy positions. Governors typically veto a half dozen or less items in a typical budget cycle. Following the line-item vetoes, the Governor then signs the budget bill into law.
So, what does the budget process have to do with Ohio’s agribusinesses? Great question! Our industry relies on several state-funded programs to operate in accordance with Ohio law. This includes many programs that provide consumer confidence in the work your businesses do every day. Let’s take a look at the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The Plant Health Division is a great example - this division houses the Grain Warehouse, Feed & Seed, Pesticide & Fertilizer Regulatory programs and more. Other divisions that are at least partially funded through the state operating budget include the divisions of Soil & Water Conservation, Weights & Measures, Dairy and Livestock Environmental Permitting program, as well as the new H2Ohio program.
The state budget also impacts higher education and the important research and extension work done at our state’s two land grant universities – Central State University and The Ohio State University.
I share all this with you to let you know the Ohio AgriBusiness Association will be engaged in the budget process over the next five months, working hard to ensure the programs and services that are so important to the successful operation of your business remain adequately funded. Watch for periodic updates from OABA and, if needed, a call to action in the next few months on budget related issues important to our industry.