Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday ordered $390 million across-the-board budget cuts for the rest of the fiscal year, citing the ongoing economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. A new budget year begins July 1.
The Republican governor also announced that — because the cuts aren't as big as last year — an additional $160 million can be provided to the state Department of Education and $100 million to the Department of Higher Education. This was money that was previously withheld.
“As many schools, colleges and universities return to in-person learning, it’s important that the funding be reinstated," DeWine said. The governor has set a goal of K-12 students returning to some form of in-person learning by March 1.
In June, DeWine cut $775 million from the budget because of plummeting revenue due to the pandemic. Ohio's total 2021 budget, including state and federal funds, is about $72 billion. But much of that is tied up in mandatory programs like Medicaid, the joint state-federal health care program for poor children and families.
Also Friday, DeWine extended the state 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, which expires Saturday, until Jan. 30. The pandemic-driven curfew requires people to stay at home during those hours except for work, food purchases, medical appointments and other necessary travel.
This extension is much shorter than the previous order, which ran from Dec. 31 to Jan. 23. On Thursday, DeWine suggested the next step might be to extend the curfew to 11 p.m. but said, “We're just not there.”
The seven-day rolling average of daily new coronavirus cases in Ohio did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 7,527 new cases per day on Jan. 7 to 6,059 new cases per day on Jan. 21, according to an Associated Press analysis of data provided by The COVID Tracking Project.