The Conference Committee for the state operating budget, House Bill (HB) 33, met this morning to begin the process for reconciling the differences between the House and Senate passed versions of the legislation. Members of the Conference Committee include House Finance Chair Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville), Senate Finance Chair Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), Rep. Jeff LaRe (R-Canal Winchester), House Finance Ranking Member Rep. Bride RoseSweeney (D-Cleveland), Sen. Jerry Cirino (R-Kirtland), and the Senate Finance Ranking Member Sen. Vern Sykes (D-Akron).
During the first meeting, both the Office of Budget and Management (OBM) and the Legislative Service Commission (LSC) projected more overall revenue than initially forecasted in February. OBM added $513 million to its Fiscal Year (FY)24 forecast but dropped its FY25 forecast by $84 million. LSC is projecting $334 million more in FY24 and $42.6 million less in FY25.
Moving forward, the Conference Committee will be working from the Senate passed version of the bill. Currently, the bill maintains the Public Library Fund (PLF) percentage at 1.70% of the state’s General Revenue Fund (GRF) in permanent law.
So, what does this mean for the PLF with these updated revenue estimates?
Keeping in mind that based on the Senate changes to the State Income Tax and Commercial Activities Tax (CAT) – both of which go into the state’s GRF, the PLF could receive about $39 million less over the biennium. A copy of the LSC Comparison Document and Appropriation Spreadsheets are available on the LSC website.
The new revenue estimates will provide the committee with some added flexibility while reconciling the two versions of the budget. It doesn’t necessarily mean that more money will be added back into the GRF. We predict that the PLF will still be less by approximately $23 million dollars over the biennium. To make up for this reduction, we are asking that the PLF percentage be increased to 1.74% to offset the reduction.
Call to Action and Talking Points
At this time, we need library directors, fiscal officers and boards of trustees to reach out to the Speaker of the House Jason Stephens, Senate President Matt Huffman, members of the Budget Conference Committee listed above and Governor Mike DeWine‘s Office.
We need you to call them, email them and/or text them.
Urge them to:
- Fund the Public Library Fund (PLF) in permanent law at 1.74% of the total GRF. It is estimated that even with the updated revenue estimates, the proposed Income Tax changes and Commercial Activities Tax changes will indirectly reduce the PLF by almost $23 million over the biennium. We are respectfully asking the Conference Committee to increase the PLF to offset those reductions.