(Columbus) – Last week, Governor Mike DeWine unveiled his two-year operating budget proposal for FY20-21, which includes a variety of appropriations for new initiatives, with NO new tax increases or tax cuts and no change in the state’s “Rainy Day” cash reserve fund. Friday’s announcement was a blue print of the Governor’s proposed funding levels with certain highlighted programs, while the full operating budget bill is expected to be released over the next two weeks with the complete language and details of the bill. The Governor stated, “while the state overall is in strong fiscal condition, finishing the current fiscal year with a surplus will help us address important issues facing the citizens of Ohio.”
The Governor’s main budget priorities and theme throughout his proposal focused on investing in Ohio and our future. His proposals included, investing in our children and their education, investing in our efforts to fight mental health and substance abuse disorders, investing in our local communities, investing in Ohio’s Workforce and in innovation and technology, as well as investing in preserving and protecting Lake Erie and all of Ohio’s waterways. Below is a summary of those proposals.
Investing In Ohio’s Children and Families
Investing in evidence-based home visiting programs by allocating an additional $30 million;
Providing $46.5 million in Early Intervention Programs through the Department of Developmental Disabilities;
Including $22 million to make more of Ohio’s Homes lead safe;
Additional $198 million in federal funding to improve the quality of Ohio’s publicly funded child care system;
Investing $5 million to create the Ohio Book from Birth Foundation;
Nearly doubling the State’s investment in children services agencies with more than $140 million in additional funding over the biennium;
Including $12 million to expand the Ohio START (Sobriety, Treatment and Reducing Trauma) program;
Investing new targeted funding of $550 million over the biennium to support student wellness and success in schools;
Providing $20 million to Ohio’s schools with free, evidence-based prevention curricula and professional development for school personnel by partnering with local Alcohol, Drug & Mental Health Boards
Increasing funding for child nutrition with $60 million in federal funding per year for Federal School Lunch, Breakfast and Child and Adult Food Programs and;
Offering school safety option by increasing support for Ohio Homeland Security Safer Schools Tip Line.
Investing In Local Communities
Increasing the state’s child protective allocation by $30 million per year for a total of $90 million annually;
Increasing state support for indigent defense by $60 million per year;
Providing local libraries with an additional $8.5 million over the biennium;
Investing in effective drug task force models;
Increasing funding to help solve sexual assault cases;
Providing over $18 million over the biennium for the creation of probation departments in courts that do not currently have one;
Authorizing local governments to extend Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) terms up to an additional 30 years larger, high impact developments;
Investing in business in Ohio by establishing Opportunity Zones for economically-distressed communities;
Increasing funding to the local Government Fund to fund local crisis services related to substance use disorder with money from the GRF instead of diverting funds from the Local Government Fund and;
Addressing Academic Distress Commissions.
Investing In Ohio’s Workforce And Innovation
Creating a culture of Innovation through a newly-launched InnovateOhio, led by Lt. Governor Jon Husted, the administration seeks to change the culture of state government by looking at all services from the viewpoint of the customer, Ohio citizens and Job creators, by creating a leaner and more efficient government using innovation and technology;
Workforce and Innovation initiatives include supporting Ohio workers by investing in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Programs administered by ODJFS;
Investing $15 million a year to Fast track Ohioans seeking new workforce skills by providing “micro-degrees,” low-cost, quick-to-earn work credentials for at least 10,000 Ohioans a year;
Making higher education more accessible and affordable by requiring public universities to offer guaranteed tuition for all four years of the students schooling;
Investing $47 million over the biennium for our students by increasing the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG);
Including $6 million for qualifying students to purchase textbooks and instructional materials; Focusing on STEMM Opportunities for Ohio College Students by expanding funding for the Choose Ohio First Scholarship by $12 million each year;
Supporting our service members by increasing the National Guard Scholarship by $800,000;
Investing in the children of fallen service members by increasing the War Orphans Scholarship by $4.1 million over the biennium;
Investing in the next generation of technology professionals by providing additional investment for the Diversity and Inclusion Technology Internship Program;
Establishing Ohio as a leader in computer science and coding by providing additional resources to train teachers to become certified computer science educators;
Expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities by investing in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program;
Establish regional job training partnerships with local businesses, education providers and community leaders by investing $5 million in Industry Sector Partnerships over the biennium; Investing in businesses in Ohio by establishing Opportunity Zones for economically-distressed communities;
Protecting state resources from cyber threats by enhancing the state’s security programs; and investing in workforce safety by establishing the Safety and Health Center of Excellence program within the BWC.
Investing In Recovery As It Relates To The Opioid Crisis
Spending $20 million to provide Ohio’s schools with free, evidence-based prevention curricula and professional development for school personnel;
Investing $12 million to expand the Ohio START (Sobriety, Treatment and Reducing Trauma) program. Increasing treatment capacity in Ohio through an investment of more than $56 million to respond to local needs;
Investing an additional $5 million to create at least 30 more specialized courts;
Investing $3.9 million to create the Narcotics Intelligence Center (NIC). Investing in effective drug task force models through increased funding for the continued operation of existing local drug task forces &;
Investing $8 million in a new public awareness education campaign.
Investing In Ohio’s Natural Wonders
By creating the H2Ohio Fund, which will spend approximately $900 million over 10 years to ensure safe and clean water across Ohio;
Investing in the future of Ohio State Parks by recommending $43 million for renovating cabins, lodges campgrounds and trails, etc.;
Continuing to expand the ODNR Oil and Gas program by appropriating more than $60 million to help plugging orphan wells and the goal of fixing over 300 wells during the biennium;
Reducing air pollution by spending $31 million through the Ohio EPA by replacing aging diesel and heavy-duty trucks and equipment;
Investing $20 million per year in soil and water phosphorous program with in the Dept. of Agriculture to help reduce phosphorus in the western Lake Erie Basin and;
Investing over $500,000 through ODNR for dam safety, water management and flood plain management.
Governor DeWine’s first state budget proposal includes several new programs to address many important issues facing the state of Ohio. Now that the state budget has been formally introduced by the Governor, it will move through the legislative process; first going through the Ohio House for further deliberations and then to the Ohio Senate for additional hearings before it is finalized in a conference committee. This process must be completed with a bill signed into law by June 30th.
Our ZHF Consulting team will continue to monitor Ohio’s FY20-21 state operating budget bill throughout the entire legislative process. If our team can be of assistance to you or your business/association, please click here.