Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Lays Out 2-Year Budget Proposal

Gov. Mike DeWine at a Monday press conference announcing his biennial budget proposal.
Gov. Mike DeWine at a Monday press conference announcing his biennial budget proposal. [Office of Gov. Mike DeWine]
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Updated: 10:20 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's two-year budget proposal would sink $1 billion into one-time spending to help the Buckeye State grow.

The plan, unveiled Monday, would use $1 billion of federal and state funds to create the “Investing in Ohio” initiative, which will have four primary goals, DeWine said.

“We will be supporting Ohio’s small businesses, strengthening Ohio’s communities, growing Ohio’s skilled workforce and telling Ohio’s story," he said.

DeWine's "Investing in Ohio" initiative would include:

  • $200 million in grants for bars and restaurants;
  • $150 million in grants for Small Business Relief Grant applicants, who previously applied and are qualified;
  • $50 million in grants for lodging industry businesses;
  • $40 million in grants for indoor entertainment venues; and
  • $20 million in grants for new businesses, many of which were not qualified to receive previous funding.

DeWine also said his budget will "tell Ohio's story" by investing $50 million to bring Ohioans who have moved elsewhere back home and to try to attract new residents and entrepreneurs to take advantage of career opportunities and college availabilities.

Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes tweeted her thoughts on why people don't want to live in Ohio:

When asked about the comments from Sykes and others, Governor DeWine responded: "Ohio is a welcoming place. I don't care who you are. We want you to come to Ohio. You know it's a progressive state."

DeWine said his budget wouldn't raise taxes, though it would raise some fees. And it doesn’t touch the nearly $3 billion in the state’s 'rainy day fund,' though DeWine said he hasn’t ruled out using that money in the near future to address needs brought on by the pandemic.

Among the proposed fee increases are the BMV prices for vehicle and title registration, which would generate an additional $127 million a year for the Ohio State Highway Patrol. 

State budget director Kimberly Murnieks said state finances are beginning to stabilize after the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"But we still have to be very careful to not create a situation in the future where we have spent some of the one-time revenues on recurring obligations that then create those fiscal cliffs," Murnieks said. 

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

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