COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine gave his State of the State address at the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday and said Ohio is “on the move.”
“We meet at a time of great opportunity for Ohio,” DeWine said. “It is also a time of great challenges.”
DeWine laid out his budget plan during the State of the State, proposing the allocation of billions of dollars. He focused his speech on seven main areas of focus.
You can watch the governor’s full address in the video player below.
FAMILIES, CHILDREN AND SCHOOLS
DeWine is proposing a one-time $300 million investment to career tech programs throughout the state for capital improvements and equipment. American Rescue Plan Funds will be used to support this expansion.
The governor also said he plans to support students who pursue higher education. He plans to extend need-based financial aid to students choosing to enroll in community colleges or university regional campuses.
DeWine’s budget will also expand the State’s need-based scholarship, known as Ohio College Opportunity Grants.
“First, we will significantly expand eligibility to include many more working Ohio families,” DeWine said. “And second, we will increase the scholarship amount to $6,000 per student, renewable for each of four years.
Also, DeWine said if you are in the top 5% of your high school graduating class, you will be rewarded with a $ 5,000-a-year scholarship, renewable for four years if you attend a college or university in Ohio.
“We want our children to grow, work, and ultimately live here right in the state of Ohio,” DeWine said.
DeWine also proposed a repeal of sales tax on infant supplies like diapers, safety equipment and car seats, and a $2,500, per child, state tax reduction.
“It’s a budget that focuses on our people, on our families and our children,” he said. “For they are truly Ohio’s greatest assets.”
WORKFORCE, JOBS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
“We want all regions of the State to participate in Ohio’s economic revival and for all Ohioans to prosper from it,” DeWine said. “Every region of the State has good sites, however, many of them are not yet ready for development.”
DeWine’s budget would create the “All Ohio Future Fund.” The fund will make a one time, $2.5 million dollar investment, to prepare the infrastructure of large economic development sites located in every single part of Ohio. This investment will be used to bring in companies like Intel.
“My commitment is this, with the development of these sites, every single Ohio citizen will be within commuting distance of at least one of these sites,” DeWine said. “Innovation is in our blood.”
The budget would also invest an additional $150 million to create new Innovation Hubs in regions throughout the State.
“These hubs will bring together each community’s strengths to encourage more economic development and attract the very best talent,” DeWine said.
“For the past year, I have talked a lot about mental health, but there was a time when no one wanted to talk about it, a time when it was easier to simply look the other way,” DeWine said. “My Fellow Ohioans, that time is over.”
As proposed, the budget approaches mental health ‘holistically,’ increasing training and access.
“From research to treatment to understanding the biological, cultural, and situational aspects of mental illness, we have not, to this point, brought things together in a cohesive way,” DeWine said.
DeWine said his budget centers on four things as it relates to mental health:
- Building a community care system that increases prevention efforts
- Offering better crisis response services and treatment options
- Growing our behavioral health workforce
- Focusing on much-needed research and innovation
DeWine is proposing a one-time investment to expand the capacity of Ohio’s pediatric behavioral health care system to address the shortage of behavioral health professionals serving children and to expand critical facilities.
“We must not accept that mental illness and addiction are inevitable,” DeWine said.
DeWine asked the General Assembly to join him in creating the “State of Ohio Action for Resiliency Network” or the SOAR Network. This is a multi-year research study that will “help launch new discoveries about the brain and about resilience.”
“It will help us understand the unique nature of mental health issues across Ohio’s urban, suburban, rural, and Appalachian communities to better determine which interventions work best in our many diverse communities,” DeWine said.
“To encourage the development of housing for lower-income families, help more Ohioans achieve the dream of homeownership, and continue the revitalization of our downtowns and historic communities, I am proposing in my budget a series of tax changes and programs,” DeWine said.
For the first time ever, DeWine proposed the creation of both state “Low-Income Housing Tax Credits” and “Single-Family Housing Tax Credits” to stimulate the construction of more housing for families.
DeWine also proposed the creation of an “Ohio Home Ownership Savings Account” program with Treasurer of State Sprague to allow Ohioans to save for down payments and other qualified housing expenses with reduced state tax consequences.
DeWine also wants to look at nursing homes, to be sure they have consistent compliance with stands of care.
DeWine said in the coming days, he will appoint a task force to study the issues surrounding quality of life and quality of care in nursing homes.
“This matter is urgent, and I will give this group a short timeline to report back to the people of Ohio,” DeWine said. “Any discussion about rebasing will also include a serious discussion about quality in our nursing homes.”
PUBLIC SAFETY, CRIME
DeWine proposed an annual $40 million dollar investment for continuous training for Ohio officers.
“On topics ranging from de-escalation to use of force, to crisis intervention for someone with mental health illness,” DeWine said. “Training matters, training matters and training makes a difference.”
DeWine also said his budget fully funds and supports the Next Generation 911 system in every community across the state. This system routes calls directly to local dispatchers and uses your cell phone’s GPS to get first responders to your exact location quickly.
His budget would also fully pay the monthly fees for any agency that uses the ““Multi-Agency Radio Communication System,” (MARCS).
“More than 3,000 first responder agencies in Ohio currently use MARCS to communicate with each other across jurisdictional lines,” he said. “However, many others use different radio systems, often making communication difficult with officers from other jurisdictions.”
H2OHIO RIVERS INITIATIVE
So far, the state has enrolled 1.5 million acres of Northwest Ohio farmland in the H2OHIO program to reduce runoff. DeWine said the state has created or is actively creating or restoring more than 265 wetlands to filter these same nutrients out of over 110,000 acres of watershed.
“We have exciting plans to expand H2Ohio to cover the entire State. Over the next biennium, we will begin work to improve the quality and the health of our rivers, which are critical for wildlife habitat, infrastructure, drinking water, economic development, and recreation,” DeWine said. “With your support, we will create the H2Ohio ‘Rivers Initiative.’”
DeWine concluded his speech by saying “I have tried today to be crystal clear about where I believe we must go as a State and what we must do. However, I also recognize the great role, the Constitutional role, that this General Assembly plays in our system of government.”