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Published: Thursday, 3/31/2005

Taft signs bill aiding education


COLUMBUS - Gov. Bob Taft yesterday signed a bill into law to eliminate a projected $295 million shortfall in the state's primary and secondary education budget that ends June 30.

Citing problems in projecting enrollment and assessed property values, Mr. Taft's administration said the bailout is expected to include $150 million in federal "fiscal relief" dollars, up to $30 million in state lottery profits, a delay in $30 million in state aid payments to districts with increases in real and tangible personal property, and transfers within the state Department of Education budget.

Also yesterday, Mr. Taft signed the two-year, $7 billion transportation budget bill into law.

The measure includes $250,000 for transportation improvement projects related to economic development by the Rossford Transportation Improvement District in Wood County. State Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) pushed for the money.

The law also creates a "Fish Lake Erie" license plate to generate research funds for the Ohio Sea Grant College Program. The new plate was backed by House Minority Leader Chris Redfern (D., Catawba Island).

Mr. Taft also signed a bill into law sponsored by state Rep. Jeff Wagner (R., Sycamore) that allows county boards of commissioners to earmark sales tax revenue for emergency medical services.

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