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Senate Approves 6 Veto Overrides - Delays Vote on Funding for Counties and Transit Agencies

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By Jason Warner, Manager of Government Affairs, Greater Ohio Policy Center

In a rare August session, the Ohio Senate voted on 6 of the 11 veto overrides that the Ohio House of Representatives approved during a special voting session on July 6. They held over five other veto overrides for a possible future vote, including a provision that seeks to provide additional funding for counties and transit agencies.

The proposal would require the state Department of Medicaid to seek permission from the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to increase the Health Insurance Corporation (HIC) fee that CMS approved in 2016 that is currently generating $615 million in annual revenue for the state. This fee replaced a previous sales tax on Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCO) that CMS disallowed earlier in 2016. The HIC fee covers losses that the state realized through the loss of the MCO sales tax revenue, but does not account for lost revenue that counties and transit agencies received through their piggyback sales taxes. This has resulted in a loss of approximately $207 million annually. The request to CMS would be to raise the HIC fee to a rate substantially high enough to generate the additional $207 million per year to assist counties and transit agencies.

In remarks on the Senate floor during the session yesterday, both Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Scott Oelslager (R-N. Canton) stated a desire to ensure counties and transit agencies are not left out, but said discussions on the issue are “ongoing”.

The earliest possible date for another vote on the override by the Senate is Wednesday, September 6 when they have a tentative voting session scheduled. Full session is expected to resume the week of September 18.