Gov. Strickland and Ohio Lawmakers Tries to Solve Budget Problems

Ohio Legislators and Governor Ted Strickland announced on June 29th, 2009 that they are giving themselves another week to solve their state budget differences after the Ohio Senate adopted a resolution allowing spending through first week of the new fiscal year.

On a majority vote, the Ohio senate also approved Strickland’s use of the Ohio’s rain-day budget to fix the budget hole remaining in the present fiscal year. The House must approve the resolution, included in an appropriations bill for the state industrial commissions.

Ohio Legislators and Governor Strickland also indicated that they are close to an agreement on most conditions on the spending plan, including education and school reform. State Representative Ron Amstutz (Republican-Wooster) and member of the Conference Committee that will finalize negotiations on Monday that he is optimistic that a compromise could be reached before the end of the week, giving the Legislative Service Commission enough time to gather the thousands of pages making up the bill.

Governor Strickland said that he and the Ohio legislators plan to work through the 4th of July holiday if necessary to come to an agreeement. Gov. Strickland added they needed to work budget because it is a very important issue.

But there remained one difference between the two sides: the slot machines at horse racing tracks. The Governor has made it very clear that his plan to install video lottery terminals at Ohio’s horse racing track must be accomplished by the state legislature. Strickland said that he thinks that they can solve the budget issue if Senator Harris is willing to review the slots proposal.

But Sen. Harris remained convinced that the slots proposal should be implemented by Governor Strickland with an executive action like what he used to add the game of keno to the state lottery. Harris said that he believe that Gov. Strickland have the ability to place the slot machines in the horse racing tracks.

The governor said that racing track owners stated that they would not make investments to permit slot machines at their racing tracks without legislative approval.

But Senator Harris said that the individuals that was bidding for keno never came to the state legislature to ask for help. He added that they had invested millions of dollars on the hope that they could get a gaming contract.

Gov. Strickland said that Sen. Harris should permit the issue to be decided by the members of the Republican caucus. He added that if the slots issue were permitted to be brought before the Senate for a vote, he thinks that could have the resolution to their budget