Legislative Committee Approves Budget Deal

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A final version of the Ohio budget removes a provision that would have allowed natural gas drilling in Ohio state parks and strips school districts of the authority to determine whether pupils should say the Pledge of Allegiance.

The plan also clarifies Gov. Ted Strickland’s authority to put slot machines at Ohio’s horse racing tracks to raise an estimated $933 million.

A legislative committee voted 5-1 on Monday to approve the budget plan after little debate or discussion.

The roughly $52 billion spending plan now goes to votes in the House and Senate.

The plan contains $2 billion in cuts, ends a tuition freeze at Ohio’s public colleges and universities, and cuts library funding by $84 million instead of the $227 million proposed by Strickland.