COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed legislation on Tuesday that will work in part to boost the state’s economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic.
House Bill 168 would invest $2.2 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act toward not only economic recovery, but also state infrastructure and pediatric health facilities.
Of the money allotted, $84 million will go toward youth behavioral health services in the state, specifically to increase access and quality of care, according to a release from the governor's office.
An additional $250 million would be invested into establishing a water and sewer quality program, which would provide grants to benefit the state's infrastructure needs.
Under the bill, roughly $1.5 million would go directly back into the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which was accessed to pay benefits for unemployed Ohioans during the pandemic.
“When COVID-19 came to our state, unemployment hit a record high, which in turn drained our unemployment insurance fund,” said Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.
According to DeWine, the additional funds will help ease the burden on businesses struggling to repay loans received during the pandemic.
DeWine said an additional $422 million will be sent to local governments that have to yet to receive federal funding.
"The actions that we took over the past year, including cutting state spending, freezing state hiring, and leaving the Rainy Day Fund untouched allow us to direct these recovery funds into forward-looking investments that position Ohio for a stronger post-COVID future," DeWine said in part.
On Monday, the Ohio House and Senate approved the state’s 2022 and 2023 budget.