By: 1812Blockhouse Staff
It was a sobering news briefing in Columbus on Tuesday from an economic point of view.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine laid out steps his office is taking to address a burgeoning hit to state tax revenue over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of April, the Governor shared, those receipts are $776.9 below budget estimates for the year. Based on the surplus going into this period, this represents a turnaround of approximately one billion dollars.
To address this shortfall, the Governor has decided to tackle the budget first, and only then pull money from the state’s so-called “ rainy day fund.”
“This is no ordinary time,” DeWine said. “This rain is not a passing spring shower, it could be a long, cold lingering storm. We should not use that rainy day fund until we have to.” The money will needed next year, he added, and possibly the year following.
The plan is to cut $775 million over the next two months in order to balance the budget, something the State of Ohio, not the federal government, is required to do. This will include cuts in the following amounts from lines of state spending:
The only department which was specifically mentioned as not being cut with the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, which is overseeing prison operations where the Coronavirus has been difficult to control.
Governor DeWine also said that the previously-imposed hiring freeze and promotion-freeze that would include pay increases is being extended. No new contracts are to be awarded by state agencies for the time being.
Tuesday’s COVID-19 numbers released by the Ohio Department of Health showed a total of 20,969 cases, including 1,135 deaths. Of the 21 day trends shown on coronavirus.ohio.gov, the majority are currently rising.