Schools, tax changes ahead in Kasich budget

By By JULIE CARR SMYTH

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — When Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) unveils his two-year operating budget Monday, it will contain a host of big policy changes.

Kasich's recently announced school-funding plan will be in there. So will a decision on whether to expand Medicaid as allowed under the federal health care overhaul.

A package of tax policy changes is also expected, including a hike for oil and gas drillers and loophole closures.

Debate over the plan will be rigorous, despite a significantly improved financial picture.

Many Statehouse Republicans who opposed President Barack Obama's health care overhaul could be conflicted over a Medicaid expansion. Expanded vouchers are raising concerns among teachers' unions. And communities benefiting from the oil and gas boom could push back against a severance tax that spreads that wealth across the state.

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