Kasich’s last budget plan coming Monday

Ohio Gov. John Kasich JIM OTTE / STAFF

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich JIM OTTE / STAFF

Ohio Gov. John Kasich will roll out his last two-year state budget plan on Monday and it’s bound to address some thorny challenges, such as a possible recession and the chance that federal lawmakers will obliterate Obamacare.

On Monday, go to Daytondailynews.com at 1 p.m. to watch Gov. Kasich explain his 2-year budget plan. Also, speak out about it on our Ohio Politics Facebook page

Ohio was one of 31 states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, adding 700,000 more low-income Ohioans to program. The feds pick up nearly all of the tab but if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, Ohio would either be on the hook for the bill or be forced to kick them off Medicaid.

Kasich is lobbying federal officials to fix or replace Obamacare rather than simply ditch the entire program.

“For the millions of Americans who have gained health coverage since 2010, it’s safe to assume that their idea of fixing Obamacare does not involve ripping away their own health care coverage without a responsible alternative in place,” Kasich wrote in a column published by TIME magazine Jan. 19.

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The state budget is a big deal. Each year, Ohio spends $9.5 billion on K-12 and $2.6 billion on higher education, $1.8 billion on prisons, $2 billion on general government and $21 billion on Medicaid, the state and federally funded health care program for the poor and disabled that covers nearly 3 million Ohioans.

Debate on the budget begins in the Ohio House, which will rework Kasich’s plan before sending it to the Ohio Senate this spring. Both chambers must agree to a final version of the budget bill by June 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

Beyond the dollars and cents, the budget bill – which runs thousands of pages — is typically loaded with policy changes such as tax cuts and hikes, privatization of government services, grants targeted at high-profile issues and more.

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The governor already announced that he’ll propose a modest 1 percent increase in K-12 funding that amounts to about $200 million.

And Kasich indicated that he wants to put three business people on school boards in Ohio’s 600-plus school districts, hire a chief innovation officer to push commercialization of key research, invest $15 million in self-driving car technology testing, and apply data analysis to help solve problems.

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