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Ohio Handles One Budget Shortfall, But Another Is Looming

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Ohio Public Radio
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Using three quarters of a billion dollars in cuts and some reserve cash and federal Medicaid funding, the state has staved off a budget deficit for the fiscal year that ends on June 30. But there’s a large shortfall ahead for the year that begins on July 1. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler reports.

With tax revenue predicted to be down by more than 9 percent from the projections that created the state budget last year, budget director Kim Murnieks estimates the deficit for next fiscal year is just over $2.4 billion.

That means a hiring freeze, no pay or step increases for non-union state workers, who will also have 10 furlough days, and cuts in agency directors’ salaries.

“We are already taking action to close that gap. But a significant portion of closing that gap will be continuing to contain our overall staffing costs for state government," Murnieks said.

Union leaders are expected to start negotiations with the state on Monday. Governor Mike DeWine has said he expects to tap the state’s $2.7 billion rainy day fund at some point, but not yet.

And Murnieks also said if there were another significant outbreak of coronavirus in Ohio, that could would potentially impact the economy even harder and lead to a greater shortfall than the slow recovery that’s being predicted now.

“Kind of an economic model that looks sort of like a Nike swoosh. It is possible if there is an additional outbreak of coronavirus, then our economic model could look more like a W with another significant downturn," Murnieks said.

Governor Mike DeWine has said he doesn't want to have to cut K-12 schools, higher education or Medicaid, which took the brunt of $775 million in cuts he ordered last month. But he has ruled out a tax increase as a possibility to deal with a deficit.  

The Statehouse News Bureau was founded in 1980 to provide educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations. To this day, the Bureau remains the only broadcast outlet dedicated to in-depth coverage of state government news and topics of statewide interest. The Bureau is funded througheTech Ohio, and is managed by ideastream. The reporters at the Bureau follow the concerns of the citizens and voters of Ohio, as well as the actions of the Governor, the Ohio General Assembly, the Ohio Supreme Court, and other elected officials. We strive to cover statehouse news, government issues, Ohio politics, and concerns of business, culture and the arts with balance and fairness, and work to present diverse voices and points of view from the Statehouse and throughout Ohio. The three award-winning journalists at the bureau have more than 60 combined years of radio and television experience. They can be heard on National Public Radio and are regular contributors to Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Marketplace. Every weekday, the Statehouse News Bureau produces in-depth news reports forOhio's public radio stations. Those stories are also available on this website, either on the front page or in our archives. Weekly, the Statehouse News Bureau produces a television show from our studios in the Statehouse. The State of Ohio is an unique blend of news, interviews, talk and analysis, and is broadcast on Ohio's public television stations. The Statehouse News Bureau also produces special programming throughout the year, including the Governor's annual State of the State address to the Ohio General Assembly and a five-part year-end review.
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