Week in Review 2-6-23

Posted by on February 06th, 2023 in News

After sketching out the major facts for lawmakers in his “State of the State” speech, Gov. Mike DeWine released his official executive budget plan near midnight Tuesday, recommending state General Revenue Fund (GRF) spending totals of about $28.1 billion in FY24 and $29.4 billion in FY25, representing increases of 3.2 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively. All Funds appropriation totals are $103.3 billion for FY24, a 3.5 percent increase, and $99.7 billion in FY25, a 3.4 percent decrease. In an interview with Hannah News, Office of Budget and Management Director Kim Murnieks called it “a conservative, moderately growing general fund budget.” State revenue sources are forecast to increase by 2.1 percent in FY24 and 4.6 percent in FY25. The income tax is projected to generate a modest increase of 0.9 percent in FY24, reaching $10.5 billion, but then grow more substantially by 7.5 percent in FY25, reaching $11.3 billion. Sales taxes likewise are forecast for greater growth in the second half of the coming biennium, with an increase of 1.7 percent predicted for FY24, bringing in $13.6 billion, and of 3.9 percent in FY25, bringing in $14.2 billion.
The budget proposal would appropriate more than $450 million in state fiscal relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for a few one-time uses. That total is what remains after lame duck spending action. Murnieks said she did not have a total available for the various other federal COVID relief funds sprinkled throughout the budget.
The Buckeye Institute released a new policy brief, “Budget Priorities for a More Prosperous Ohio,” which outlines specific tax and education reforms the conservative think tank believes lawmakers should pursue to improve Ohio’s economy and workforce. Those reforms fall under three broad areas: tax reform, K-12 education reforms and higher education reforms.

The Ohio STEM Learning Network, a partnership between Battelle and the Ohio Department of Education that supports STEM education, is seeking nominations for its Excellence Awards until Friday, Feb. 24. Awards are issued in three categories: teaching; leadership; and partnerships. Details of each award and the entry forms are at https://tinyurl.com/my7tpamt.
As part of the 2023 Severe Weather Awareness campaign, the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (OCSWA) announced that the annual Severe Weather Awareness Poster Contest is open for submissions. The contest is held in partnership with the National Weather Service and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (EMA). All poster entries must be postmarked or emailed by Friday, April 21, 2023. The contest is open to all Ohio students in first through sixth grade including individualized instruction (special education), public, private and home school classes. Ohio’s Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week will be held Sunday, March 19 through Saturday, March 25, 2023.

Gov. Mike DeWine Thursday announced that more than 900 additional schools will receive state funding support for physical safety and security upgrades as part of the latest round of Ohio’s K-12 School Safety Grant Program. He made the announcement while visiting Lakewood High School in Cuyahoga County, which is one of the 945 schools that will receive a combined $68 million in grants as part of the fourth round of the program. A fifth round of funding will be announced in coming weeks.

The Internal Revenue Service has set the 2023 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes as follows:
– 65.5 cents per mile driven for business use, up 3 cents from the midyear increase setting the rate for the second half of 2022.

A new cabinet agency focused on children’s wellbeing, continued implementation of the Cupp-Patterson school funding formula and a $2.5 billion economic development fund are among major new proposals in the FY24-25 budget proposal, Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday during his 2023 “State of the State” address. While his speech covered several major policy areas, he front-loaded the address with a series of proposals focused on young people from birth through higher education. Those include the proposed new Department of Children and Youth Services.

In education, DeWine said his budget will continue the phase-in of the Cupp-Patterson formula, aka the Fair School Funding Plan, while also proposing major new support for school choice programs. Under his budget, eligibility for the EdChoice school voucher program would grow to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, while charter schools meeting quality criteria would get additional funding for economically disadvantaged students, and charter school facilities funding would double to $1,000 per student.
In higher education, the governor proposed increasing the Ohio College Opportunity Grant to $6,000 per student, renewable for four years, and a new, $5,000-per-year scholarship for students in the top 5 percent of their high school graduating classes. Gov. Mike DeWine’s “State of the State” address was a positive start to the budget process, Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said Tuesday. “Overall, I’m delighted with what the governor talked about today. There are obviously many details we have to work out,” Huffman said during a Statehouse press conference, joined by Senate Finance Committee Chair Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) and Senate Majority Whip Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green). Huffman said he was particularly happy that DeWine is proposing to expand the EdChoice school voucher program to families at or below 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Huffman also expressed support for the governor’s proposals regarding children, career technical schools, higher education, housing and preparing sites for economic development.

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