A coalition of more than 100 unions and progressive advocacy groups is calling on state leaders to avoid making cuts to front-line workers serving Ohio’s communities during this pandemic.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently signed an Executive Order for an across the board $390 million budget cut. Last year, when he made three quarters of a billion dollars in cuts to Medicaid and education, he said he thought the budget would actually be worse off than it is now. But revenues have been coming in ahead of estimates lately.
But Nick Bates, budget and public policy director for One Ohio Now, says this pandemic has hit Ohioans who depend on the state’s social services hard. Bates thinks DeWine should tap some of the $2.7 billion dollars now in the state’s rainy-day fund.
“We cannot cut our way to solutions. Ohio needs a balanced approach to balancing the state budget. Ohio should use the rainy-day fund now to prevent further pandemic budget cuts,” Bates says.
Bates says investments are needed in social work, education, and programs to address hunger.
DeWine has said he doesn’t want to dip into the rainy-day fund now but he expects to eventually. DeWine’s order also put back $160 million into K-12 education and $100 million into higher ed, which were both cut last year.
One thing that appears off the board – a tax hike. DeWine says he won’t consider a tax increase, even though the liberal-leaning think tank Policy Matters Ohio has suggested a tax on corporate profits.