Cha-Ching!: Slot Machines Coming to Ohio

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COLUMBUS, OH (WOIO) - Governor Ted Strickland and state legislative leaders say they have reached a compromise agreement this afternoon to break a stalemate and pass the two-year state budget.

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting the agreement includes authorization of electronic slot machines at Ohio's seven horse-racing tracks through executive order and supporting legislative language.

Friday afternoon, Governor Ted Strickland released this statement concering the state budget:

Columbus, OH -- Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, Senate President Bill Harris and House Speaker Armond Budish agreed to a bipartisan balanced budget framework today.

"We have reached a final agreement today on a budget that is not only balanced, but invests in education without raising taxes on Ohioans," Strickland said. "I appreciate President Harris and Speaker Budish's leadership and the hard work of the conferees."

The governor, House speaker and Senate president today concluded negotiations regarding the state operating budget for fiscal years 2010-11. Specifically, a consensus agreement on the proposed implementation of video lottery terminals at Ohio racetracks to help address the $3.2 billion budget gap was reached.

"Under the bipartisan agreement, I will issue a directive instructing Ohio's Lottery director to expeditiously take all necessary actions to implement video lottery terminals at Ohio racetracks. The General Assembly will acknowledge the Lottery's authority to implement video lottery terminals and provide for a statutory definition of video lottery terminals and other implementation requirements in House Bill 1, the operating budget bill," Strickland said.

"With this understanding, I am confident that the legislature can now move quickly to enact a balanced budget that rightly prioritizes education as the foundation of Ohio's economic revival, reduces state government spending while minimizing the impact on critical health and safety services, and does not raise taxes on Ohioans or Ohio businesses struggling through this recession," Strickland said.

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