Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed the state’s 2018 and 2019 agenda Friday night, but not before vetoing multiple items in the document, including a freeze on Medicaid expansion.

Kasich vetoed a total of 47 items on the agenda, and the Ohio Senate has a week to override the vetoes.

In his veto, Kasich explained his reasoning for rejecting the freeze on Medicaid, which provides insurance to 700,000 low-income Ohioans, according to The Associated Press.

“This provision would require the director of the department of Medicaid to seek a federal waiver to allow the department to prohibit virtually every Ohioan age 19 through 64 with an income at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level who is not already enrolled in Medicaid, from enrolling in the program after July 1, 2018,” Kasich said. “This provision is in violation of federal law which prohibits states from denying coverage to members of an otherwise eligible group.”

According to a previous Post report, Ohio University planned its budget around Kasich’s agenda.

The new state budget would have allowed colleges to increase tuition, fees and rates as much as $10 dollars per credit hour — something OU was tentatively planning to do for the 2017-18 academic year — but that item was also vetoed by Kasich, who has been pushing to make higher education more affordable in Ohio.

“Limiting the ability of state institutions of higher education to increase costs best aligns with Ohio’s ongoing efforts to increase access to higher education, improve careers opportunities for Ohioans, and make Ohio’s workforce more desirable to job creators around the world,” Kasich said in his veto.

Additionally, Kasich’s textbook initiative, which requires public universities to cover up to $300 dollars in textbook costs for students, was projected to cost OU up to $15 million, according to a previous Post report. That language, however, has since been removed from the budget and replaced with a requirement for higher education institutions to conduct studies on textbook costs and report their efforts to reduce costs to the state.

The City of Athens has openly opposed the new state budget. In February, Athens City Council members passed a resolution asking Kasich to amend a portion of the budget that would have local businesses file their business net profit filings through the state rather than through municipal auditors, if they choose to do so.

At the time, the budget also would require cities to pay a 1 percent “administrative services fee.”

According to the Ohio Municipal League, an organization representing cities around Ohio, that “service fee” has since been dropped to 0.5 percent, but the idea hasn’t been examined closely enough by legislators.

At an Athens City Council meeting in February, Athens City Auditor Kathy Hecht said the service fee and the loss of business tax revenue would result in major losses for the city.

“We stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars if we don’t have them audited locally," Hecht said.

At that same meeting, Athens Councilman Jeff Risner, D-2nd Ward, derided the legislation.

“The state is imposing a service on the city that we don’t want and we don’t need, and they charge us at the same time,” he said. “I want to be clear about how idiotic that is.”

Hecht said the legislation was meant to help businesses but is too costly to municipalities.

“The idea is to promote a business-friendly tax program,” she said. “We aren’t opposed to that, but it’s not going to help them as much as they think it is, and it’s certainly going to hurt municipalities.”

@leckronebennett

bl646915@ohio.edu

Clarification: The article has been updated to clarify details about the textbook initiative. 

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