Sears talks about the budget process

As the 128th General Assembly begins the task of improving Ohio's
suffering economy, the state operation budget is the focus of
deliberation here at the state capitol. As a member of the House
Finance and Appropriations Committee and the Human Services
Subcommittee, I am working to pass a budget that will create jobs for
Northwest Ohio, better fund our schools, protect our communities and
serve our citizens effectively.

The state budget is the basis for government operation for the next two
years. It is the foundation and the controlling document for the
General Assembly to distribute the state's financial resources among
competing organizations and spending priorities. The Ohio Constitution
requires that all spending must have specific appropriations authorizing
the use of your tax dollars.

The state budget is valid for two fiscal years, with each fiscal year
running from July 1st through June 30th of the following year.
Currently the House Finance Committee is holding general hearings from
directors who are providing some details regarding the governor's
priorities. Each subcommittee will then hold hearings to review in
detail the budget specific to the subcommittee and introduce the
legislative priorities into the budget. The subcommittees are:
Agriculture & Development; Higher Education; Transportation & Justice;
Human Services; and Primary & Secondary Education.

When the budget bill is passed out of the House Finance Committee and
the full House votes on it, the bill will then move to the Senate. The
House and the Senate will confer on any differences before it is sent to
the governor for his signature.

Many of you have contacted me regarding the use of one-time money
(federal stimulus dollars), in addition to school funding, economic
development and health care issues. These are all very important issues
and need to be budgeted looking not only at our estimated revenues in
the next two years and how we manage the one-time money that is coming
into our budget, but more importantly how will we balance our next
budget when one-time funds are no longer available and estimated
revenues have not returned to the levels of years prior.

It is important that we use federal stimulus funds to improve systems to
make a more efficient state government, not an expanded state
government. With careful consideration we can produce a fair, balanced
budget that will benefit the citizens of Ohio. I look forward to
working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to improve and
revitalize our state.

If you have any thoughts or concerns, or if you have further questions
about the budget process, please feel free to contact my office at (614)
466-1731 or write to me at Representative Barbara Sears, 77 S. High
Street, 10th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215. You may also email me at
District 46 at ohr.state.oh.us.

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