DeWine: Ohio's $3.5 billion budget to improve quality of life, create jobs
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 687, the state's $3.5 billion budget, which the governor said is about creating jobs, improving the state's economy and looking out for the future of Ohio.
DeWine described the budget as an unusual one, with $2.8 billion of the total being bondable, with $7 billion being federal funding.
DeWine said that the state has approved paying at least $1.5 billion of the bondable portion in cash, and will at paying additional as well to save the state up to $1.6 billion in interest on the funds.
The governor said the budget will fund many state projects for quality of life, including mental health care, with the goal to build a mental health system "that is the best in the country," the governor said.
$92 million will be allocated for mental health and addiction services, and for local recovery housing and community treatment, and will focus on treatment, recovery and risk reduction the governor said.
Other areas the money will go to offer more independent living options for adults with disabilities, and funding going towards state parks, and infrastructure DeWine added.
The budget allows for $25 million for the Community Capital Assistance Program, building, buying and renovating homes for Ohioans with disabilities for independent living.
DeWine said he was making a "historic" investment in the state parks, with 76 parks, with $515 million, to be used for improvements in lodges, campgrounds, cabins, dams, trails and natural areas, including preserving Mohican River's historic locks and dams. The funding can also be used for park roads, nature centers and more DeWine added.
DeWine discussed how the funds can be used to bring additional security to Ohio schools, renovation for K-12 schools will be used to help livestock industries with disease testing facility, security in prisons and funding for fire fighting training.
DeWine switched discussion to Intel and its building of semiconductor plants in Columbus, which he said benefits Ohio and the nation, with $101 million from the budget going for water and wastewater facilities and upgrades, $95 million for local roads near the plant, $110 million for state roads and $300 million for water reclamation facility.
As far as schools in the state, the budget will allow for funding for equipment upgrades for school security, including $100 million for school safety grants, for the public, private and parochial schools, and an additional $5 million for universities and colleges. The $100 million is being used towards baseline security in buildings and in parking lots of schools, including funding for visitor badging systems, facility mapping, GPS tracking on school transportation vehicles, notifications systems, lighting, security training, and door-locking systems.
$600 million is be made available for school building construction, and $400 million for the state-run universities for maintenance and $60 million for projects that benefit higher education.
$72 million will be used by the Ohio Department of Agriculture to build a new animal diagnostic disease center laboratory to help ensure the safety of food supplies in the state. Currently, 70 percent of testing is done outside of the state.
As far as security in Ohio's police and prison system, $403 million will be allocated towards Ohio jails and prisons, to provide safe, secure facilities in the state, for rehabilitation and to better protect the employees. $50 million in grants will be dedicated to Ohio's jails, for safety and security needs, which the governor said he felt is necessary. $20 million will also go towards the Ohio Reformatory for Women, replacing two structures. $54 million will go to the Pickaway Correctional facility to replace century-old housing units.
$35 million will go to complete the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation's current "man-down" system, a communication system that alerts employees of the need for assistance.
$220 million will be provided for ongoing projects for maintaining prison infrastructure.
$22 million will be used by the state Fire Marshal's office for improvements in training facilities, with $12.8 million for a new high-rise training facility to simulate fires in different structures like, housing, apartments and office buildings. $6.1 million for a search and rescue training center.