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Ohio's $86 billion state budget OK'd by governor, but with vetoes on tobacco regulation and vaccines

State Operating Budget-Ohio
Posted at 5:23 PM, Jul 05, 2023

(AP) — Republican Gov. Mike DeWine cleared Ohio's $86 billion state budget, signing into law $3 billion in tax cuts and universal school vouchers, among hundreds of other provisions for the next two fiscal years.

The governor OK’d the massive budget document early Tuesday, but not without line-item vetoes on issues like tobacco regulation — a longtime battle for DeWine.

DeWine vetoed a second attempt by the GOP-led Legislature to keep local communities from being able to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products — earning him high praise from health advocates. The Legislature's proposal would have left that up solely to the state.

“This is consistent throughout my career,” DeWine told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday, citing his previous fight for more tobacco regulation in his time as a U.S. Senator. He also said he hopes the state Legislature will soon come to him with a statewide ban on flavored vape products in an effort to prevent kids from getting addicted.

DeWine also nixed a provision that would have banned universities from mandating students get certain vaccines in order to be on campus.

He also vetoed language surrounding an expanded sales tax holiday, which would have lifted sales taxes on many tangible items under $500. Instead of the proposed two weeks funded with $750 million, the length of an expansion will be determined by state tax and budget officials once they can estimate accurate costs for the holiday.

Additionally, DeWine cut out a provision that would have relaxed standards for publicly funded childcare programs statewide by exempting them from a state rating system.

Overall, although few of his specific priorities laid out back in January made it into the final version of the budget, DeWine applauded the work of the Legislature, calling it a “historic” investment in children, education and workforce needs.

Just last week, the state House and Senate hammered out nearly 900 differences between them, despite both chambers holding Republican supermajorities. Main disagreements included measures on how to fund education, public assistance programs and tax cuts, as well as far-reaching policy issues overhauling how both K-12 education and public colleges and universities operate in the state.

While Republicans touted the budget as being a win for businesses and families, most Democrats in both chambers voted against the budget's passage from the Legislature last Friday, saying it fails to protect the most vulnerable Ohioans while benefitting wealthier ones.

The Legislature has until the end of this general assembly to override any of DeWine's vetoes, something easily done should they choose to, as both chambers have a veto-proof Republican majority.

RELATED: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signs budget, issues dozens of vetoes

You can watch more about the bills DeWine signed and vetoed in the player below:

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signs budget, issues dozens of vetoes