Ohio House Pushes Unfinished, Unbalanced State Budget Off On Senate
Before new state economic indicators came out, the Ohio House today passed a version of the state’s two-year budget, House Bill (HB) 49, that remains hundreds of millions of dollars out of balance, if not more. The vote comes a little more than two weeks after Gov. Kasich and GOP legislative leaders announced they would need to cut close to $1 billion from the bill to maintain a stable, balanced budget. Still, the final version of House Bill 49 approved largely along party lines today fell over $400 million short of being a balanced budget bill by that standard.
“I cannot support sending this budget off to the Senate when we know that it doesn’t come close to being balanced, which is not only careless but unconstitutional,” said Rep. Nickie J. Antonio. “I fear this budget is full of empty promises and inflated projections for revenue-- the people of Ohio need real solutions.”
Democratic lawmakers argued on the House floor that the past six years of GOP tax-shifting policies have not delivered the jobs and economic growth that Republicans promised, but instead harmed middle class families and directly contributed to the state’s current fiscal crisis. Ohio’s job growth has trailed the national average for 51 consecutive months, Ohio families bring home thousands of dollars less than the average household in America, and close to 30 percent of Ohio jobs are low wage, paying less than poverty wages.
“As we lead the nation in opioid overdose deaths and are forced to resort to emergency measures like mobile morgues, it is our responsibility to provide real resources for families and communities,” said House Democratic Whip Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood). “Now, failed economic policies of the last six years have destabilized our budget, making it nearly impossible to guarantee real funding to combat the crisis unless we use emergency reserves. I stand by our calls over the past four years on GOP lawmakers to provide real resources in the fight against heroin and opioids. We owe families and communities across the state a real guarantee of more help and funding, and that’s not what we voted on today.”
Among Democratic amendments were:
Additional $200 million for drug addiction and treatment through JobsOhio offered by Rep. Nickie J. Antonio.
Family First for Economic Stability Act, a provision that would provide equal pay and paid family leave for all Ohio families.
-Government Accountability and Anti-Corruption Initiative, legislation that would create criminal penalties for state contract rule-rigging and prohibit the Administration’s appointed inspector general from a guaranteed career extension.
-College Affordability Omnibus, a duo of college affordability measures that cap tuition at a three-percent increase and increase Ohio’s College Opportunity Grant.
-Stabilizing Medicaid Expansion, a proposal that would put Ohio’s Medicaid expansion population into Ohio Revised Code to prevent political game-playing with access to lifesaving healthcare services.
-Get to School Safely, a proposal to restore transportation funding to K-12 Ohio schools.
-A House for Every Ohioan, a tax re-balancing bill to undo Republican property tax cost increases by 12.5 percent while increasing the Homestead Exemption eligibility and credits for retirees and senior citizens.
House Bill 49 now goes to the Ohio Senate for additional scrutiny. The Republican-controlled legislature and Gov. Kasich must approve a balanced budget by June 30 to avoid a government shutdown.
State Representative Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) is honored to be serving her fourth term in the Ohio House of Representatives. Representing the 13th House District, she was also appointed to serve on the Democratic Caucus leadership team as Minority Whip during the 132nd General Assembly, having previously served as Minority Whip in the 131st General Assembly, and Assistant Minority Whip for part of the 130th. Antonio’s district includes the City of Lakewood and parts of Cleveland’s West Side: The Detroit Shoreway (Gordon Square Arts District), The Stockyards, West Boulevard, Cudell, The Village of Linndale, and a section of Ohio City neighborhoods.
Antonio currently serves as the highest ranking Democratic member of the Health and Aging Committee. Additionally, she serves on the Finance and Appropriations Committee, Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education, Rules and Reference Committee and the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee. Antonio is also a member of the Ohio House Democratic Women's Caucus—previously serving as chair—and is state director for the Women Legislators’ Lobby.
Rep. Antonio is known as a civic-minded public servant who is concerned with the quality of life of those around her. Her commitment to social justice advocacy spans multiple decades, extending into public policy after her election to Lakewood City Council in 2005. During her tenure on the council, Antonio chaired the Economic Development, Housing, and Human Services committees; served on the Public Works and Finance Committees; and was the council representative for both the Lakewood Hospital Board and Community Relations Board. As councilwoman, Antonio facilitated successful strategies for economic development through proactive policies such as the sidewalk-dining legislation, which reversed a long-lasting city ordinance prohibiting restaurant patrons from being seated by the sidewalk. Antonio also supported environmental legislation that reduced the rate of toxic fuel emissions. During her five-year period on the council, Antonio was a persistent proponent of diversity appreciation and understanding through the Lakewood Community Relations Advisory Commission, of which she is a founder.
The first in her family to graduate from college, Antonio holds a Master of Public Administration Degree from the Maxine Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, also from CSU. Antonio is an alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School Senior and Executive Leadership program for State and Local Governments, and also a graduate of Lutheran West High School in Rocky River, Ohio.
A former special education teacher and non-profit executive director for a women’s outpatient drug/alcohol treatment program, Antonio worked for nearly twenty years as a consultant for non-profits and governmental agencies in Northeast Ohio, and served as administrator for a multi-county HIV/AIDS regional planning group. While fulfilling these positions, Antonio was also an Adjunct Professor at CSU, teaching courses in Women’s Studies and Public Administration. She continues her civic involvement through her leadership roles in numerous community groups such as the non-profit Cleveland Tenants Organization, of which she is a board member.
Because of the nature of her social justice advocacy and activity, Antonio is known as a collaborative community builder and organizer. She is an enthusiastic supporter of the arts and civic engagement as effective tools to develop local and statewide viability and economic success. Antonio is also a certified coach and continually advocates for the benefits to society as a whole when individuals are valued and encouraged to rise to their highest potential and purpose.
Daughters Ariel and Stacey, both Lakewood High School graduates, have made Rep. Antonio and wife Jean Kosmac very proud as the girls engage in their post-secondary pursuits.