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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.

Among the big ticket items are the $645 million for Ohio's insurance fund for injured workers.

There will be support for local governments and help for local communities, by

increasing the state’s child protective allocation by $60 million per year for a total of $125 million annually.

More than half of Ohio’s kids in foster care are there because at least one parent has substance use disorder, according to the governor.

In 2018 alone, more than 26,000 children were served in out-of-home care during the year, a more than 25 percent increase from 2013. Because counties bear a disproportionate share of the cost for caring for these kids, this additional funding will give local children services agencies resources and flexibility to provide for these children.

Ohio’s operating budget also supports Ohio’s schools, colleges, and universities by

providing new mental health and wraparound services to students by investing new, targeted funding of $675 million over the biennium to support student wellness and success in schools.

Schools will receive additional funding for mental health counseling, wraparound supports, mentoring, after-school programs, and more. Schools will partner with local organizations including Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Boards; Educational Service Centers; County Boards of Developmental Disabilities; community-based mental health treatment providers; local health departments; local departments of Job and Family Services; and non-profits with experience serving children.

Governor DeWine believes every Ohioan should have the opportunity to pursue their dreams and live up to their potential. That path begins with educational excellence in every school, for every student. Quality early childhood development programs, superior schools, and a comprehensive workforce plan combine to create opportunities for every Ohioan to succeed.

By addressing barriers to success, we can give all our students the opportunity for brighter futures.

Increasing overall state investment in public education to $9.3 billion in fiscal year 2020 and $9.4 billion in fiscal year 2021.

The additional investments made in the budget will support student success and promote better educational outcomes, especially in the areas of the state that need it most.

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