Gov. DeWine signs $69.8 billion state budget

After missing the June deadline and ongoing negotiations with state legislators, Republican Governor Mike DeWine has officially signed the massive $69.8 billion state budget.

“I am proud that this budget will significantly impact the lives of Ohioans through its unprecedented investments,” said Governor DeWine. “It lays the groundwork for a better Ohio for generations to come. This budget will lead to healthier children, stronger families, safer communities, an enhanced workforce, and a more prosperous Ohio, while also providing significant tax relief for every Ohio taxpayer and regulatory relief for Ohio businesses.”

The 2,600-page state budget for Ohioans will affect, particularly workers compensation, funding for mental health, opioid addictions, schools, colleges and local communities.

Ohio lawmakers failed to meet the constitutional June 30th deadline, but reached an agreement on bi-partisan support for the two-year state budget that was sent to the governor’s desk on July 18 for a signature.

The new budget restores $125 million for wrap around services targeting low income students and $120 million for children services, to help those impacted by Ohio’s opioid crisis.

The budget also allows for the state to have power to control drug benefits for low income Ohioans who rely on Medicaid.

There will be major changes in education, with new standards for high school graduation and another that puts a moratorium on the state takeover of schools that are in academic distress until 2020 to offer time to come up with a better solution for failing schools.

Ohio teachers, among the lowest paid in the nation, will see a pay hike in the minimum salary for teachers with a bachelor’s degree from $20,000 to $30,000 and adjusts other steps in the salary ladder for teachers. The average teacher in a traditional Ohio public district makes $58,266.

Another critical element to the budget involves prescription drugs. Two years ago a ballot measure was soundly defeated that would have lowered the cost for prescriptions drugs, but the new budget will fund the group “Creates the Prescription Drug Transparency and Affordability Advisory Council”, which will work on making prescription drugs more affordable and accessible.