*This content is curated by WHACC Board Member Wayne Lawrence, President of Weiss Movers & Storage, and originally provided by the Ohio Trucking Association.
In February the DeWine Administration unveiled its proposal for its $171.6 billion biennial budget. While the actual budget language has yet to be introduced, the DeWine Administration did release the budget blue books, which provide overviews of each agency’s budget proposal. The budget bill calls for funding from the General Revenue Fund (GRF) at $35.39 billion for FY 22 and $39.27 billion for FY 23 for a total of $74.66 billion in GRF spending. Office of Budget and Management Director Kim Murnieks said the budget was carefully constructed so that we are allocating one-time resources for one-time expenses. The budget proposal does not increase taxes and also does not borrow from the state’s “rainy day” fund. Helping Ohio’s financial situation was the federal government taking on an increased share of Medicaid spending. The increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage has saved the state about $300 million per quarter. While it is uncertain whether this assistance will be extended past 2021, it has allowed the state to redirect resources away from Medicaid and to other programs.
In the press conference announcing his budget proposal, Governor DeWine highlighted $1 billion in targeted one-time spending aimed at the state’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the $1 billion investment, $450 million will be used to “strengthen Ohio communities” through investing $250 million in expanding broadband access throughout the state and $200 million in key infrastructure projects. The infrastructure investment will be administered through the Ohio Department of Development. The blue book described the investment as, “funding for community projects such as water/sewer infrastructure, roads, downtown revitalization programs, and demolition.” Governor DeWine said the $200 million is designed to attract more jobs and bring more investment to communities throughout the state. The DeWine Administration also highlighted $70 million for workforce development programs, focusing on the TechCred program (created in the last budget) and an investment in workforce efforts in economically distressed communities. The main operating budget must be passed and signed by the governor no later than June 30th.