Ohio Budget: DeWine sticks to investment pledge

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – (WDTN) – Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine made his priorities as governor clear during his State of the State address on March 5 – investment. 

The investment theme dominates in his biennial budget proposal, which will be voted on by the Ohio legislature in June. 

“As I shared in my State of the State address, the Bible tells us that there is a time and a place for everything,” DeWine is quoted in the budget’s addendum. “Now is the time to invest in Ohio.”

DeWine recommends raising the annual budget from the estimated $71 billion in 2019 to a recommended $74.2 billion in 2020, and another 2.4 percent into 2021 to $76.1 billion. 

The submitted budget would support children and families by:

  • Investing new, targeted funding intended to support student wellness and success in schools
  • Investing $22 million in order to make more of Ohio’s homes lead-safe for children and families
  • Investing an additional $50 million in evidence-based home visiting programs to give children the best possible start in life
  • Nearly doubling Ohio’s investment in children services agencies

More information on planned investments in children and families is available here.

As far as mental health and addiction recovery in the state, DeWine believes this executive budget would:

  • Increase treatment capacity in Ohio through an investment of more than $56 million to respond to local needs
  • Invest $20 million to provide state schools with free, evidence-based prevention curricula and professional development for school personnel
  • Invest an additional $5 million to create at least 30 more specialized courts during the biennium
  • Invest $12 million to expand the Ohio START (Sobriety, Treatment and Reducing Trauma) program in order to provide support to children and parents impacted by substance use disorder

Read more about planned investments in mental health and addiction recovery here.

Locally, the executive budget would support our communities by:

  • Increasing the state’s child protective allocation by $30 million per year for a total of $90 million annually
  • Increasing funding to the Local Government Fund to fund local crisis services related to substance abuse disorder with money from the General Revue Fund instead of diverting funds from the Local Government Fund.
  • Increasing state support for indigent defense by $60 million per year to assist local partners in providing counsel for defendants who cannot afford an attorney

Find out more about how the budget would benefit local communities here.

Some highlights in DeWine’s 678-page budget proposal include:

  • Extending the eligibility of publicly funded child care for families at 130 percent of the poverty limit to 150 percent
  • The OhioCorps Pilot Program, which would dedicate funds to helping high schoolers affected by the opioid crisis 
  • Raising funds for Opioid State Targeted Response 21.4 percent over the next two years from $20.7M in 2019 to $25.2M in 2020
  • A massive increase to the state’s opioid response fund, from $16.9M estimated for 2019 to a recommended $59.4M in 2020 for a 251 percent increase. A large portion would go to community response programs

Additionally, there are investments planned that would impact the state’s workforce and innovation. Read more on that here.

Other notes from DeWine’s budget:

  • Ohio’s current unemployment rate is 4.6 percent, compared to 4.9 percent the year before. The national unemployment rate as of December 2018 was 3.9 percent
  • Ohio export business has been falling due to weakened demand in China and Europe. The report also said trade negotiations with China remain a risk for the state outlook
  • According to the report, the Affordable Care Act remained largely intact despite numerous moves by Congress to dismantle the law or defund it
  • DeWine’s plan to clean up the western Lake Erie water basin, dubbed H2Ohio, has a proposed $30.3M budget for its first year in 2020
  • Medicaid would receive a 4 percent increase from 2019 estimates to 2020, from $27.3 billion to $28.3 billion, and another 4.5 percent to $29.6 billion in 2021

You can find the executive budget “blue book” here.

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