Senate Budget Closes $1B Gap, Adds $6M for Opioid Crisis

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Senate Republicans in Ohio say they have been able to close a projected $1 billion state budget gap while preserving essential services and pumping more money into fighting the opioid crisis.

Senate President Larry Obhof and Finance Chairman Scott Oelslager outlined the Senate’s version of the budget Monday. Senators said most savings were achieved through administrative streamlining and eliminating earmarks.

Of 610 school districts, 535 see their funding retained or increased under the Senate’s plan. Senators deliver cuts of less than 1 percent to most of the remaining districts, many of which are shrinking.

Their proposal spends $176 million on fighting the epidemic of addiction and death caused by heroin and prescription painkillers. That’s $6 million more than the House plan, with some spending reprioritized.