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State May Need Twice The $2.7 Billion In Rainy Day Fund To Recover From Coronavirus

Then-Gov. John Kasich (standing, left) smiles as his budget director Tim Keen (right) finishes the first depost into the state's rainy day fund in July 2013. Kasich has notably said the fund had $.89 in it when he took office in 2011.
Then-Gov. John Kasich (standing, left) smiles as his budget director Tim Keen (right) finishes the first depost into the state's rainy day fund in July 2013. Kasich has notably said the fund had $.89 in it when he took office in 2011.

The financial impact of Ohio’s shutdowns for coronavirus is enormous. And the billions of dollars that have been set aside by the state over the last seven years may not be enough to cover it all.

Nearly a million Ohioans have filed for unemployment, which means the state has lost almost a fifth of the jobs it had a month ago.  

Last month’s preliminary state revenue was down 10.5% from estimates, off by $159.4 million.  The Office of Budget and Management said sales and use taxes missed projections by more than 8%, or $68 million. Personal income taxes were off by more than 5%, or $22.3 million.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said the at-capacity rainy day fund may not be even close to enough to cover everything.

“Based on current projections, that $2.9 billion, we might need twice that amount just to balance the budget over the next 15 months.”

State agency directors have been ordered to find cuts of up to 20% in their budgets, though some, like Medicaid, will likely need more money.

Husted said mayors are telling him they’re expecting cuts between 15% and 25%, which he said will mean reductions in police, fire and other important local services.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.