COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine released his proposed state budget for the 2022-23 period Monday afternoon, including a $1 billion initiative called Investing in Ohio’s Future.
“The Investing In Ohio Initiative supports both our people and our economy as we continue to prepare for the future and showcase Ohio as the premier place to live and work,” said Governor Mike DeWine, (R) Ohio.
The initiative, a one-time expenditure, calls for investing $500 million to provide relief to businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, $450 million for infrastructure projects and improving broadband internet access, and $50 million for a marketing campaign encouraging people to move to the state and businesses to invest in it.
Business relief will focus on businesses in the entertainment industry — including bars and restaurants that were especially hit hard by the pandemic— and for businesses that started in 2020.
“What we’re trying to do is make sure that these businesses that employ people are able to continue and to move forward,” said Governor DeWine.
The money set aside for local municipalities, will include funding for infrastructure projects and the broadband access initiative.
The marketing campaign that Governor DeWine calls “telling Ohio’s story”, will be targeted to those outside of the state who may be looking to relocate from the East and West coast.
“Instead of spending $50m for a PR campaign Republicans could stop passing extremist legislation that keeps women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and working families from realizing their American dream in Ohio. It would be a lot cheaper. And much more kind,” tweeted Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, (D) Akron.
Governor DeWine refuted the idea that some wouldn’t want to come to Ohio because of controversial legislation.
“Ohio is a welcoming place. I don’t care who you are, we want you to come to Ohio. It’s a progressive state, it’s a state that has its fiscal house in order,” said Governor DeWine.
DeWine said the state is in position for this initiative because of cost-cutting measures it enacted at the start of the pandemic, including a spending freeze, workforce reduction and refinancing state debt.
The budget includes no tax increases and Governor DeWine says they will not dip into the rainy day fund.
“We have to be prepared in case there is something that comes up that is unforeseen, and we have to hunker down again. We don’t want to, it’s not what we intend to do but we can’t control this virus,” said Governor DeWine.