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      Ohio lawmakers near vote on $62B state budget

      Ohio House and Ohio Senate to vote Thursday on state budget.

      COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - After months of wrangling, state lawmakers are preparing to grant final approval to the massive policy document laying out Ohio's spending priorities for the next two years. The $62 billion state operating budget is scheduled for floor votes in both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate on Thursday. Republican Gov. John Kasich faces a Sunday deadline to sign it. The bill delivers $2.7 billion in tax reductions over three years to individuals and small businesses, revises Ohio's school-funding formula and changes health care programs. Other provisions affect policies on abortion, exotic animals, e-schools and campaign finances. Absent from the legislation are Kasich's proposals to increase taxes on oil and gas drillers and to expand Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program, under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

      (Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)