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State Budget Process

The process for developing the state budget is specified in state statute, though most states follow a similar process:

Step #1: Governor’s Instructions

The governor’s office sends guidance to each administrative agency outlining the parameters of the coming fiscal year budget (e.g., priorities for the year, whether to include cuts, additional revenue, etc.).

Step #2: Agency Budget Development

The agencies develop budget requests and submit the requests to the governor’s office.

Step #3: Formulation of Governor’s Budget

The governor’s budget office reviews and revises the individual agency budget requests, and assembles them into a budget proposal.

Step #4: Release of Governor’s Budget

The governor’s budget proposal is sent to the legislature and released to the public. This proposal is non-binding on the legislature.

Step #5: Legislative Budget Testimony

The legislature holds hearings on the budget. This includes testimony from the governor’s office and administrative agency officials. It may also include opportunities for public testimony.

Step #6: Legislative Budget Drafting and Hearings

The legislature writes their budgets, with the House going first. Hearings are held in the relevant committees (usually Finance or Appropriations) and subcommittees.

Step #7: Legislative Budget Votes

The house and senate pass their budget bills.

Step #8: Conference Committee

Conference committee meets to work out differences between the house and senate budget bills. The governor and his/her staff are usually very involved in this process.

Step #9: Adoption of the Committee Report

The house and senate must approve the changes made by the conference committee. This is an up or down vote. They do not reconsider specific provisions.

Step #10: Action by the Governor

The budget is sent to the governor, who can sign it in its entirety, veto it, or veto specific portions of the bill (depending on state).

In many states, a mid- cycle review or “budget corrections” process takes place to ensure that the budget is balanced (i.e., spending equals revenue collected by the state).

Ohio State Budget Timeline:

  • Budget Instructions Sent To Agencies: July
  • Agency Requests Submitted to Governor: Sept/Oct
  • Agency Hearings Held: Oct/Nov
  • Public Hearings Held:
  • Governor Submits Budget to Legislature: Feb
  • Legislature Adopts Budget: June
  • Fiscal Year Begins: July
  • Annual or Biennial Budget: Biennial
  • Frequency of Session: 1

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