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State Workers Taking Cuts To Trim Ohio's Upcoming $2.5 Billion Deficit

Gov. Mike DeWine, Ohio Budget and Management Director Kimberly Murnieks and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted rolled out the state budget in March 2019.
Gov. Mike DeWine, Ohio Budget and Management Director Kimberly Murnieks and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted rolled out the state budget in March 2019.

Ohio’s state budget office estimates $2.5 billion in spending will have to be cut to balance the budget for the fiscal year that starts in July.  And that means Ohio’s more than 51,000 state workers will take some hits.

Non-unionized state workers will have their pay increases and step raises frozen, and will have to take 10 days of unpaid leave. Cabinet directors will see a 4% salary cut.

And Gov. Mike DeWine said unions will have to come to the table by June 15 with their cost-controlling ideas. He admits it’s tough for prison employees in particular. Four prison workers have died of COVID-19 and nearly 700 have tested positive for the virus - including the head of the union that represents Ohio's prison staff.

“You’ve got to pick up those dollars somehow, either with – two variables there, number of workers and the other variable is the pay raise itself," DeWine said.

But DeWine said he doesn’t want to make more reductions to schools, Medicaid and other areas cut by three quarters of a billion dollars to balance the budget for this fiscal year.

“We certainly do not want to cut schools again. These are all choices that we have to make. Families across Ohio are making tough, tough, tough choices. And so we have to in government make those same choices," DeWine said.

One thing DeWine has ruled out, though - an income tax increase.

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

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.
Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.