With a significant reduction in state revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Mike DeWine generated $ 775 million in cuts – including $ 465 million in education – to balance the state budget.
“Decisions like this are very difficult,” he said Tuesday in announcing the cuts.
The reduction is:
l $ 300 million in K-12 education foundation funding;
l $ 55 million in other K-12 education budget line items;
l $ 110 million for tertiary education;
l $ 210 million in Medicaid spending;
l $ 100 million in deductions from other state agencies with undisclosed details – except that all agencies, except the Rehabilitation and Correction Department, will be affected.
The cut will take effect immediately and last until June 30, the last day of the 2020 state fiscal year, DeWine said.
Reduction in primary and secondary education equals about 3.7 percent cuts, he said. Education for kindergarten to state funding 12 is around $ 9.8 billion.
“If we don’t make cuts now, the cuts we will make next year will be more dramatic,” he said.
The state budget is $ 32.4 billion with about 85 percent of it funding Medicaid, K-12 education, and tertiary education. Medicaid provides health protection for those on low incomes and disabilities.
DeWine said he would not use the country’s $ 2.7 billion rain day fund now because a surplus would be needed for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1, and the next.
State revenues were around $ 200 million higher than projected at the end of February, but fell to $ 776.9 million below the budget estimate at the end of April due to the pandemic, he said.
“As you can see, this is approaching a $ 1 billion swing down in just two months,” he said.
DeWine added: “The cruel nature of the economic downturn is that when you need a social safety net it is also a time when government revenues shrink. We try to preserve basic services for people as we go through this period. This is why we need stability. I know that I say it is raining, but we don’t want to use the funds yet. “
DeWine said the current problem was “passing spring showers. It could be that we really don’t know. But it can be a long, cold and enduring storm. We shouldn’t use the funds for the rainy day until we have to. “
The Ohio Teachers’ Federation expresses immediate concern over the proposed education cuts.
“Our K-12 school needs more resources, more technology, and more staff to meet the growing emotional, physical and academic needs of our students,” president Melissa Cropper said in a statement.
DeWine will not hold a press conference today though he said on Tuesday that further details of spending cuts will come today. This will be the first time he won’t hold a daily news press conference since he started doing it about two months ago. He said he would not have one because the country’s Legislature will be in session today.
DeWine said he hoped to make an announcement on Thursday about a protocol for reopening restaurants for dinner in service as well as opening a hair salon and possibly other businesses that were closed by the state because of a pandemic.
VALLEY COVID-19 DEATHS
The announcement of DeWine’s budget cuts came the same day as 15 new COVID-19 deaths reported in the Mahoning Valley were revealed.
There were 79 new deaths reported in the state on Tuesday, which means nearly one in every five deaths in the three-county area.
Reported on Tuesday were eight new deaths in Mahoning County, four in Trumbull County and three in Columbiana County.
The 15 newly reported COVID-19 deaths were ranked second in a day for three districts, lagging only last Wednesday when 19 new deaths were reported.
Reported deaths lag behind actual deaths due to notification of COVID-19 death often delayed, sometimes up to several weeks. But in turn, the Trumbull County Joint Health District reported one death of COVID-19 Tuesday while the Ohio Department of Health registered four in the county.
In total, there were 157 COVID-19 deaths in three districts on Tuesday: 92 in Mahoning, 35 in Trumbull and 30 in Columbiana.
Among the 88 states of Ohio, Mahoning has the third most deaths, Trumbull is 10th, and Columbiana is 12th.
There were 1,135 who reported COVID-19 deaths in the state on Tuesday, up from 1,056 deaths on Monday, according to ODH.
The increase in 79 deaths is well above the 18 deaths reported on Monday and the daily average of 39 for the state over the past 21 days.
There were 20,969 confirmed cases of the virus in Ohio Tuesday, up from 20,474 Monday.
There were 999 cases and 249 hospitalizations in Mahoning County on Tuesday, up from 965 and down from 250 Monday. One COVID-19 case previously counted by the state in Mahoning District was apparently not related to the virus.
Mahoning had the seventh most cases and the sixth most hospitalized in Ohio on Tuesday.
There were 356 cases and 144 hospitalizations in Trumbull County on Tuesday, up from 347 and 142, respectively, Monday.
Trumbull County had the 11th and 7th most cases hospitalized on Tuesday.
In Columbiana District, there were 292 cases and 106 hospitalizations on Tuesday, up from 287 cases the day before with the same number of hospitalizations.
Columbiana had the 14th most cases and was the eighth most hospitalized Tuesday among the Ohio states.
Across the state, 3,956 people were hospitalized on Tuesday due to the virus, up from 3,809 Monday.
There were 1,123 people in the intensive care unit Tuesday, up from 1,090 Monday.
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