The Columbus Museum of Art has announced it was laying off 39 employees and slashing their budget due to money lost during coronavirus. It’s the latest example of an arts organization that has suffered because of COVID-19. But there might be some help coming soon from the state for struggling performing arts theaters.
The state’s tax revenue report for July was the first one showing gains in three months. But Ohio’s chief budget officer says she expects the economic effects of the pandemic to last for far longer than the pandemic does – perhaps years.
After three months of declines, Ohio took in 8% more in taxes than the Office of Budget and Management estimated, though much of that is connected to the delay of the tax deadline to July 15. But there was a different kind of growth in the state’s July report that could be concerning.
Using three quarters of a billion dollars in cuts and some reserve cash and federal Medicaid funding, the state of Ohio has staved off a budget deficit for the fiscal year that ends on June 30. But there’s a huge shortfall ahead for the year that begins on July 1.
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.
The slowdown of the economy because of COVID-19 has had a huge impact on traffic and transit. And even though the state’s gas tax that funds road construction went up by 10.5 cents a gallon last July, the Ohio Department of Transportation is bracing for a big hit.
The latest round of state budget cuts to offset the economic impact of COVID-19 has caused many departments to reevaluate their programs, this includes the H2Ohio fund which sets money aside to keep Lake Erie, and other water sources, clean.