Ohio Lawmakers Debate Impact of Federal Stimulus Money on Budget

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Governor Ted Strickland’s budget chief is warning of dire consequences if Congress passes a stimulus package with reduced aid to struggling states.

Budget Director Pari Sabety told state lawmakers Tuesday that Ohioans would see significant cuts in mental health and drug treatment programs and face an increase in college tuition.

Sabety appeared before members of the Ohio House Finance Committee, who got their first chance to dissect the administration’s budget plan since it was released last week.

Strickland’s two-year, $55 billion budget plan relies on $3.4 billion in federal money to help fill a $7 billion deficit.

A version of President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan that passed the U.S. Senate Tuesday cuts more than $108 billion in spending intended to help cash-starved states.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)