Ohio's Shattered Budget to be Decided in a Few Days; 7-Day Interim Budget to Be Passed

June 30 was supposed to be the day that Ohio legislators would finalize the state's biennium budget and determine the fate of Ohio's public libraries. Under Governor Ted Strickland's proposal, public libraries would see their funding slashed in half for the next two years. D-Day, however, has been delayed and Ohio libraries have been granted a brief stay of execution as the Senate is expected Monday to approve a seven-day interim budget that will fund state government operations into the new fiscal year.

The interim budget will be adopted as an amendment to the Industrial Commission's budget (HB 16), and will fund programs at 70% of actual fiscal year 2009 spending. Debt service will be fully funded, and the plan will also authorize Gov. Strickland to use money in the rainy day fund.

Democrats and Republicans have been clashing on a number of issues in the budget, including education funding and installing slot machines at the state's racetracks, as well as severe cuts to public libraries and various human services.

At this point it's not clear if the one-week delay will be favorable for libraries, who would face unprecedented budget, service, and staff cuts if Strickland's proposal were enacted, or if it is simply an agonizing delay of their death.