On December 22 Ohio Governor Ted Strickland signed a $851 million budget repair bill, a legislative measure necessary to replace the video lottery terminal (VLT) revenue counted on to generate $933 million that was included in Ohio’s 2010-2011 biennial budget bill.

In July, Governor Strickland signed into law Amended Substitute House Bill 1 (H.B. 1), a $50.5 billion budget spending measure, which included language authorizing VLTs at Ohio’s seven horse racetracks. However, in September, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the VLT provisions would not go into effect immediately, but rather they were subject to a statewide voter referendum because they did not fall within any of the exceptions to the right of referendum under the Ohio Constitution. (State ex rel. LetOhioVote.org v. Brunner, Slip Opinion No. 2009-Ohio-4900).

As a result of this decision and the delay in implementing the VLT provisions, Ohio legislators were faced with a budget shortfall of nearly $851 million. Key components of the budget repair bill include:

  • A two-year delay of the 4.2 percent cut in personal income tax rates set to go into effect for the 2009 tax year;
  • A three-project pilot program for universities to employ streamlined construction methods;
  • A one-year reprieve for local schools from an all-day kindergarten mandate;
  • Transfers of excess Ohio Department of Education funding for parochial schools; and
  • Corrective language for Mental Health and State Employment Relations Board budgets.

Ohio’s premium tax structure for insurance companies remains unchanged under the provisions implemented under this bill.

Substitute House Bill 318 became effective immediately and is available at:

http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=128_HB_318