What you need to know about DeWine’s budget
Here are some key facts and figures from Gov. Mike DeWine’s newly proposed budget.
Gov. Mike DeWine released his two-year, $75 billion proposed state budget Feb. 1. The budget features a $1 billion Investing in Ohio Initiative, aimed at tackling economic downturn following COVID-19 – including funding for pandemic response, economic relief and community funding.
In January, DeWine ordered $390 million-worth of across-the-board budget cuts for the remainder of the fiscal year. However, DeWine also released $260 million for schools and universities – crediting increased revenues compared to the previous year, driven by increased pandemic-related spending on goods in place of non-taxable services like haircuts.
The governor’s budget plan increases state spending 3.4% in the first year and 11% the second. The budget doesn’t dip into the Ohio’s $2.69 billion rainy-day fund.
DeWine’s budget office is projecting $24.8 billion in tax revenue for the fiscal year beginning this July and an increase to $25.6 billion the following year.
Here’s what you need to know about DeWine’s proposed budget.
Investing in Ohio Initiative
DeWine’s initiative intended to offset some of the COVID-19 pandemic’s fallout covers three general areas: public health, economic relief and community funding.
“We have a unique opportunity to make significant investments that will spur growth and economic renewal across the state,” DeWine said of the initiative.
Together, the initiative includes $450 million in relief for small businesses and another $450 million for local community infrastructure spending.
Small business aid includes $20 million for businesses that missed out on previous COVID-19 relief funds. The initiative also includes $200 million in grants for restaurants and bars, as well as $40 million for indoor entertainment venues.
From the $450 million dedicated to infrastructure projects, $250 million will go to expanding broadband internet access in rural Ohio.
The plan also includes $50 million dedicated to a public relations campaign intended to promote Ohio to a “national audience” – a funding measure that has drawn criticism from some lawmakers.
Public health and safety
The initiative allocates $50 million to public health priorities as part of a “health surge” in the COVID-19 response. “Public health has been underfunded in this country for generations,” DeWine said. “One of the lessons certainly should be is we can longer afford to do that, if we ever could.”
The budget also includes $50 million towards a nursing home reform initiative, to “provide better quality care and opportunity across the board for Ohioans.”
The budget proposes $11 million to strengthen the state’s mental health response, through “cross-system collaboration” and expanded access to mental health services.
More than $30 million is dedicated toward law enforcement and public safety-related funding priorities – including a $10 million grant program to implement or enhance body camera programs for officers, as well as $8 million to reduce violent crime through state and local law enforcement agencies.
State spending on K-12 schooling will rise 3.2% during the next year and drop 0.4% the following year in DeWine’s budget proposal.
The state’s education budget proposal includes a total of more than $13 billion allocated each year. This includes $1.1 billion to support Student Wellness and Success programs, which were launched by DeWine with the previous budget – which “fund partnerships between schools and community organizations to develop programs that meet the social and emotional needs of students.”