The Schoolhouse Rock song about how a bill becomes a law might be instructive for children, and it may even offer a simplified introduction to the legislative process in Ohio. But Ohio’s state budgeting process is more complex. The late Richard G. Sheridan, the state’s first director of the Legislative Budget Office, wrote a 268-page book on the subject, Follow the Money: Ohio State Budgeting, available in limited quantities from The Center for Community Solutions.
Following is an overview of the budget process in Ohio. For information and a chronological look at the FY2012-13 state budget process, click here.
Ohio’s State Budget Process
- Legislation in play in odd-numbered years
- Budget is “biennial,” covering a two-year period
- Must be balanced (projected revenues equal projected expenditures)
- Must pass by June 30 to take effect July 1
- Current budget (known as 129-HB153, or the FY2012-13 budget) is in effect from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2013
- In those years when a new Governor takes office, as was the case in 2011, the introduction of the budget is typically pushed forward by two months, although the budget must still be finalized by June 30
- View current legislative calendar for Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives
- Find your legislators
General Timeline (odd-numbered years)
- January – Governor outlines budget in State of the State Address and presents the Executive Budget (as late as March 15 for newly elected governors)
- February – Budget bill introduced in the House of Representatives and referred to House Finance and Appropriations Committee
- February/March – Public testimony on the budget heard in subcommittee and in full committee, which passes an amended version of the bill
- March – House of Representatives passes the budget bill and sends it to the Senate
- April – Senate Finance Committee hears public testimony on the budget and passes an amended version of the bill
- May – Ohio Senate passes the budget bill; if House fails to concur, a Conference Committee is appointed to work out the differences
- June – Conference Committee resolves differences between House and Senate versions of the budget and sends an agreed-upon version of the budget to the floor of both houses for approval; Governor signs bill into law with or without line-item vetoes
Throughout the process, the appropriations bill is subject to lobbying by a variety of interests. Corporations and unions, nonprofit organizations, watchdog groups, consumer alliances, policy experts, the media, and even interests outside Ohio – not to mention the general public – all attempt to influence the outcome using a variety of methods. The final budget determines whether Ohio’s most vulnerable populations will have their basic needs met over the next two years. Advocates for Ohio’s Future monitors the budget at each step of the process, standing up for those hurt most by the current recession – those who rely on health, human services, and early care & education to be self-sufficient. Learn more about how you can get involved.