Senate delays action on veto override of MCO sales tax

COLUMBUS — More than six weeks after the Ohio House of Representatives voted to override several budget bill vetoes from Gov. John Kasich, it was the Senate’s turn to consider the overrides.

And while they did act on a few measures, there were others, including the veto related to the proposed fix to the Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) sales tax loss which the Senate delayed a vote on for the time being.

In delaying action on that, and other line item veto overrides, senators stated that discussions are taking place between legislators, the administration and others to work through the differences.

“I’m confident that giving the governor’s office and the county commissioners association two weeks to find a workable solution is worthwhile. If not, expect this critical transportation issue to be back on the Senate’s agenda with the votes needed to override,” stated Senator Frank Hoagland (R-Mingo Junction) in an email to the Sentinel regarding the MCO.

The sales tax loss is set to impact local county governments, as well as transit authorities in the state.

As previously reported, the state has already received approval at the federal level for a waiver which will replace the lost revenue the state would have felt from the tax loss. The item in the budget which was vetoed by the governor asked that the state go back to the federal level and ask for a waiver to replace the tax loss to the counties and transit authorities.

“There is no guarantee the federal government will allow the state’s funding replacement plan, so if a solution can be found, we should fix it at the state level, before gambling on a favorable outcome in Washington,” stated Hoagland of asking the federal government for the second waiver.

The Senate can still move forward with the veto override in the future should a solution not be reached by the parties through discussions.

Other items the Senate declined to vote on at this time included:

  • A provision that would have required the Department of Medicaid to submit rate payment increases to the legislative Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee for approval.
  • A provision that would have prohibited nursing homes and most community-based waiver services from being added to Medicaid managed care unless authorized by lawmakers.
  • A provision that would have required the administration to request a federal Medicaid waiver requiring certain Medicaid enrollees to pay into a modified health savings account.
  • A provision that would have turned over authority to the legislature to appoint members of the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission, which would issue permits for fracking on public lands.

On the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission matter, Senator Hoagland stated, “The governor has committed to members of the Senate that he will make appointments to the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission following recent conversations. Should that not happen, we reserve the option to bring up for consideration the House of Representatives’ veto override on this issue, as well as others, at anytime. Bottom line: we need to make sure there is a clear set of rules protecting both the oil and gas workers and the communities that are home to this expanding industry.”

Administration, other to engage in discussions on a solution

By Sarah Hawley

Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.