YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Governor Mike DeWine said Ohio is on a roll! He presented the first budget of his second term and said it focuses on the state’s greatest asset — its people. Many of the ideas focus on the well-being of families and children.
DeWine told Ohio lawmakers his priorities remain nearly the same, cutting taxes, growing the economy, and improving education. He pitched an additional $2,500 per child state tax deduction and helping parents pay for child-raising needs.
“To ease the financial burden on new parents, our new budget will ask you to repeal the sales tax on critical infant supplies such as diapers, wipes cribs, car seats, strollers and safety equipment,” DeWine said.
Governor DeWine also said Ohio is on the move, revealing that 48 companies left the East Coast or West Coast for Ohio in the last four years, creating 14,000 jobs.
He pitched a one-time $2.5 billion investment for preparing infrastructure for upcoming large economic development sites, across the state.
“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.
The governor says he will appoint a task force soon to study Ohio’s nursing homes. He wants those members to drive around the state and talk with residents and families about the quality of life and quality of care.
“We will give them a voice, and we will empower them to help drive solutions,” he said.
DeWine also proposed spending $300 million to improve career tech education centers around the state and helping all schools that want to add a school resource officer.
He also talked about creating a network to study the brain and mental health issues.
Democrats across the state had a lot to say about the Republican governor’s ideas for Ohio. One topic is his decision to keep the school funding formula from his last budget and expand school choice programs. That would come by raising the income eligibility for Ed Choice scholarships.
“Our first priority is making sure that our public schools get the funding they need because their responsibility is to educate all students,” said Rep. Allison Russo, D-7th District.
Democrats believe more vouchers would cost over $170 million per year. That was the figure presented to them from a state analysis.
When it comes to tax cuts on baby supplies and infant mortality, Rep. Terrance Upchurch, D-20th District, said more needs to be done for Ohio mothers. DeWine wants to grow a program already in place and believes 10,000 more mothers should be in it.
“Through the policy, Black women in Ohio are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes. We can all agree that all Ohioans deserve to raise a family and have their medical concerns addressed,” Upchurch said.
Governor DeWine also called for the creation of a new cabinet-level Department of Children and Youth.