Ohio’s state budget office estimates $2.5 billion in spending will have to be cut to balance the budget for the fiscal year that starts in July. And that means Ohio’s more than 51,000 state workers will take some hits.
Non-unionized state workers will have their pay increases and step raises frozen, and will have to take 10 days of unpaid leave. Cabinet directors will see a 4% salary cut.
And Gov. Mike DeWine said unions will have to come to the table by June 15 with their cost-controlling ideas. He admits it’s tough for prison employees in particular. Four prison workers have died of COVID-19 and nearly 700 have tested positive for the virus - including the head of the union that represents Ohio's prison staff.
“You’ve got to pick up those dollars somehow, either with – two variables there, number of workers and the other variable is the pay raise itself," DeWine said.
But DeWine said he doesn’t want to make more reductions to schools, Medicaid and other areas cut by three quarters of a billion dollars to balance the budget for this fiscal year.
“We certainly do not want to cut schools again. These are all choices that we have to make. Families across Ohio are making tough, tough, tough choices. And so we have to in government make those same choices," DeWine said.
One thing DeWine has ruled out, though - an income tax increase.