Catholic Conference of Ohio
Saturday, October 16, 2021

Issues - Catholic Conference of Ohio

State Budget

 

Prioritize the Poor & Vulnerable

“Our faith has an integral unity that calls Catholics to defend human life and human dignity whenever they are threatened. A priority for the poor, the protection of family life, the pursuit of justice and the promotion of peace are fundamental priorities of the Catholic moral tradition which cannot be ignored or neglected. We encourage and will continue to work with those in both parties who seek to act on these essential principles in defense of the poor and vulnerable.” Responsibilities of Catholics in Public Life USCCB, 3/10/2006

"Welfare policy should reduce poverty and dependency, strengthen family life, and help families leave poverty through work, training, and assistance with child care, health care, housing, and transportation. Given the link between family stability and economic success, welfare policy should address both the economic and cultural factors that contribute to family breakdown. It should also provide a safety net for those who cannot work. Improving the Earned Income Tax Credit and child tax credits, available as refunds to families in greatest need, will help lift low-income families out of poverty." #75 Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship 2015

Protect Human Life

“A basic moral test for our society is how we treat the most vulnerable in our midst…This preferential option for the poor and vulnerable includes all who are marginalized in our nation and beyond—unborn children, persons with disabilities, the elderly and terminally ill, and victims of injustice and oppression.” Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, USCCB, 2011

"Our Conference supports laws and policies to protect human life to the maximum degree possible, including constitutional protection for the unborn and legislative efforts to end abortion, assisted suicide, and euthanasia. We also promote a culture of life by supporting laws and programs that encourage childbirth and adoption over abortion and by addressing poverty, providing health care, and offering other assistance to pregnant women, children, and families." #65 Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship 2015

Support Families Who Choose Catholic Schools

“Parents—the first and most important educators—have a fundamental right to choose the education best suited to the needs of their children, including public, private and religious schools. Government, through such means as tax credits and publicly funded scholarships, should help provide resources for parents, especially those of modest means, to exercise this basic right without discrimination. Students in all educational settings should have opportunities for moral and character formation consistent with the beliefs and responsibilities of their parents.

All persons have a right to receive a quality education. Young people, including those who are poor and those with disabilities, need to have the opportunity to develop intellectually, morally, spiritually, and physically, allowing them to become good citizens who make socially and morally responsible decisions. This requires parental choice in education. It also requires educational institutions to have orderly, just, respectful, and non-violent environments where adequate professional and material resources are available. The USCCB strongly supports adequate funding, including scholarships, tax credits, and other means, to educate all persons no matter what their personal condition or what school they attend—public, private, or religious. All teachers and administrators deserve salaries and benefits that reflect principles of economic justice, as well as access to resources necessary for teachers to prepare for their important tasks. Services aimed at improving education—especially for those most at risk—that are available to students and teachers in public schools should also be available to students and teachers in private and religious schools as a matter of justice." # 82 & 83 Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship 2015

Promote Care For Our Common Home

"Care for Creation is a moral issue. Protecting the land, water, and air we share is a religious duty of stewardship and reflects our responsibility to born and unborn children, who are most vulnerable to environmental assault. We must answer the question that Pope Francis posed to the world: "What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?" (Laudato Si', no. 160). There are many concrete steps we can take to assure justice and solidarity between the generations. Effective initiatives are required for energy conservation and the development of alternate, renewable, and clean-energy resources. Our Conference offers a distinctive call to seriously address global climate change, focusing on the virtue of prudence, pursuit of the common good, and the impact on the poor, particularly on vulnerable workers and the poorest nations." #86 Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship 2015.

 

Ohio Legislature Passes State Budget

Adds further school choice provisions and provisions helpful to children and families.

The Ohio legislature passed a bipartisan supported budget bill (HB 110).  The Catholic Conference of Ohio commends the diligent and thoughtful efforts by the administration and the General Assembly.  

The bill provides unprecedented support for both public and private school students.  Many Catholic school students, parents and administrators will receive needed assistance due to increases in voucher payments, supportive services, and the ability to participate in the newly created After-School Child Enrichment Savings Account Program to name just a few.

The bill strengthened the Governor's budget proposals that focused on children, families and persons in need.  Special funding for multi-system youth and the OhioRise program was maintained. Provisions were removed that could have hindered access to the SNAP program, other public assistance programs, and affordable housing.

Increased funding was provided for the Parenting and Pregnancy Program which provides funding for pregnancy centers.  Provisions further protecting conscience rights, and provisions addressing transfer agreements for abortion clinics also were passed.

Catholic Conference Advocates on the State Budget Bill

Senate school choice provisions especially helpful to Catholic school students and families.

In a letter sent to public officials regarding the state budget bill, HB 110, the Catholic Conference of Ohio offered areas of support and concern. It states:

"Thank you for your careful consideration of this important legislation. We appreciate how each version of this bill built upon the excellent frameworks of the others. Overall, we find the versions before you to be child-friendly and family-friendly. We especially appreciate the additions in the Senate that enhance care for both the unborn and newly born, provide further conscience protections, and incorporate school choice provisions within the broader framework of school funding reforms. 

We offer several recommendations to the Conference Committee..."

Ohio Senate Unveils Their Version of State Budget

Provides Unprecedented Support for Catholic Students and Parents

The Ohio Senate unveiled their version of the State Budget (HB 110). It builds upon the Governor's and House proposals that promote children, families and persons in need. The Senate added additional provisions that further promotes school choice.  The Conference commends such additions and especially recognizes the excellent leadership that Senate President, Matt Huffman, provided in this area. 

Highlights in the Education line items include:

  • Increases max scholarship awards for students receiving an Ed Choice or Cleveland Scholarship to $5,500 (grades K-8) and $7,500 (grades 9-12);
  • Extends eligibility for traditional EdChoice scholarships, including provisions for siblings, foster children and incoming 9th graders; gradually phases out the requirement for a student first to be enrolled in a public school;
  • Provides helpful improvements to the EdChoice scholarship eligibility, notification, funding and administrative procedures;
  • Directly funds 100% of the scholarship cost for students who receive EdChoice, Cleveland, Autism, or Jon Peterson scholarships, rather than funding these students in their districts of residence and then deducting funds to pay for the students at their schools of choice;
  • Extends eligibility for Cleveland scholarships to K-8 nonpublic schools located within 5 miles of the Cleveland School District;
  • Allows a nonpublic school that elects to receive Auxiliary Services directly to designate an organization (e.g., a diocese) to receive the funds on its behalf;
  • Removes the statutory per-pupil cap on Administrative Cost Reimbursement;
  • Eliminates the requirement that an early childhood education program meet the 3rd highest tier of Step Up to Quality in order to qualify for state funding;
  • Creates a $1,000 tax credit for those who donate to a Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) providing scholarships, primarily to low income students, to attend a non-public school;
  • Increases the formula amount for determining Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship awards and increases the appropriation for the Peterson program;
  • Increases the maximum scholarship amount of the Autism Scholarship Program to $31,500 in FY22 and $32,455 in FY23;
  • Maintains helpful House passed provisions related to Auxiliary Services, Administrative Cost Reimbursement, College Credit Plus, and school busing, and increases the payment in lieu of transportation to 50% of the local cost of transporting the student, up to $2,500..

A full Senate vote is expected on Thursday, June 10, 2021. A Conference Committee will meet shortly afterwards to reconcile differences between the Executive, House and Senate versions.  A balanced budget must be enacted by July 1, 2021.

Conference Testifies on Pending State Legislation

Public Assistance, Immigration, and Education Issues Addressed

The Conference testified on the following legislation:

Sub SB 17: Placing additional requirements for receiving public assistance benefits.  Testimony

HB 75: Possible amendment denying workers' compensation to undocumented workers.  Testimony  

HB 110: Education provisions in the budget impacting Catholic schools and students.  Testimony

Ohio House Adds Additional Funding for Programs Helping Catholic School Students

Auxiliary Services and Administrative Cost Reimbursement Programs Increased

The Ohio House Finance Committee added additional support for two programs helping Catholic school students. The House Ominbus Amendment increased GRF appropriation for nonpublic administrative cost reimbursement by $816,000 in FY22 and $1.6 million in FY23. It also increased the maximum per-pupil amount of administrative cost reimbursement payments to nonpublic schools for each of FY22 and FY23 from $466 to $475.

The amendment also increased GRF appropriation to Auxiliary Services  by $1.8 million in FY22 and $3.65 million in FY23. 

The full House is expected to pass this substitute version of the budget bill (HB 110).  Action and advacacy will now occur in the Ohio Senate.  Emphasis will be upon maintaining gains made in the House version, while encouraging improvements in the EdChoice programs, school transportation, and funding for housing and hunger programs. A balanced budget must be enacted by July 1, 2021.

Catholic Conference Issues Letter to Ohio House Members Regarding the Proposed State Budget

HB 110 Under Consideration in House Finance Committee

The Ohio House is finalizing their version of the state budget, HB 110. The Ohio Senate has begun their hearings.  A balanced budget must be enacted by July 1, 2021.

The Catholic Conference of Ohio issued a letter to all House members supporting features in the current version and recommending areas for improvement. The letter called attention to the Church's strong support for programs that assist people who are poor and vulnerable, and the Church's strong support for programs that help Catholic school students.

Education Action Alert 4-16-21

Health & Human Services Recommendations
Education Recommendations

Governor Signs Budget Bill

Bill Supports At- Risk Children & Families, Expands School Choice Programs, Increases Support for Hunger, Housing, and Crisis Pregnancy Programs

The Catholic Conference of Ohio commends Governor DeWine, Speaker Householder, President Obhof, House Minority Leader Sykes, Senate Minority Leader Yuko, OBM Director Murnieks, Senate Finance Chairman Dolan, House Finance Chairman Oelslager and all the legislators and staff for passing a responsible and compassionate state budget.

We commend this legislation’s focus on children; foster care; multi-system youth; interventions for at-risk infants, youth, families, victims of human trafficking, and seniors; education and early learning; clean water; lead abatements; hunger and housing responses; disaster assistance; jobs, and tax reductions to name a few.

HB 166 Summary Documents

Governor's Veto Message

Education Provisions Helpful to Catholic Schools and Students

Human Services Provisions Helpful to Persons in Need

Consensus Unable to be Reached before July 1 Deadline

Budget Remains in Conference Committee; Action expected by July 16

The State budget remains in gridlock.  Senate and House leaders were unable to find consensus prior to the July 1 constitutional deadline.  A temporary budget was passed expanding the deadline to July 16, 2019.  

The Catholic Conference of Ohio encourages leaders to find "common good" compromises. Both the Senate and House passed versions contain many commendable features. Such features include a focus on children; foster care; multi-system youth; interventions for at-risk infants, youth, families, victims of human trafficking, and seniors; education and early learning; clean water; lead abatements; hunger and housing responses; disaster assistance; jobs, and tax reductions to name a few. 

Catholic Conference of Ohio's Budget Recommendations
HB 166 Comparison Document

Ohio House Passes Budget Bill

Bill Receives Strong Bipartisan Support

Substitute HB 166 as passed by House

Comparison Document

Catholic Conference of Ohio Budget Backgrounder for the Senate

Catholic Conference of Ohio Budget Page 

Ohio House Considers State Budget: HB 166

Action expected by early May

HB 166: State Budget
House Budget Language
Governor's Proposal
LSC Analysis



Catholic Conference of Ohio Budget Backgrounders

Health and Human Services
Defend and Protect Human Life
Promote Care for Creation
Support Families Who Choose Catholic Schools

Catholic Conference of Ohio Page on the State Budget

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