Politics State Here are five takeaways from the 2020-2021 fiscal year of the Ohio executive budget By Alejandro Figueroa Posted on March 19, 2019 5 min read 0 0 486 Governor Mike DeWine Photo via Wikimedia commons. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine released the proposed executive budget for the fiscal year of 2020-2021. The proposed budget is described as structurally balanced and void of any tax increases according to a news release from the governor’s office. Some of the priorities the governor mentioned in his State of the State address are highlighted in the budget. Increase in education spending The recommended spending increase comes after Governor DeWine proposed investing in the future of young Ohioans in his State of the State address. The proposed 2020-2021 fiscal year comes with a 3.2 percent budget increase from the 2019 year for a total of $411.32 million for the 2020 fiscal year of primary and secondary education spending. The budget for education spending also proposes adding increase funding to support student wellness and success in education, as well as spending $22 million to make more Ohio homes safe from lead. Mental health and addiction recovery investment DeWine also proposed increasing substance abuse treatment capacity in Ohio by investing more than $56 million to respond to local needs of opioid addiction. He also proposed investing $12 million to expand the Ohio START (Sobriety, Treatment and Reducing Trauma) program to provide support to children and parents impacted by substance use disorders. Furthermore, DeWine’s budget calls for an increase in funding to the Local Government Fund to support local crisis services related to substance abuse. Supporting workforce and innovation The proposed budget suggests creating a “culture of innovation” in state government by launching the new Innovate Ohio program, led by Lt. Governor Jon Husted. It comes with an investment for businesses in Ohio by establishing Opportunity Zones —a lower income community where new investments may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. It also mentions fast-tracking Ohioans seeking new workforce skills by providing micro-degrees, primarily for new workers to enter the workforce earlier and faster, without spending too much on any certifications or tuition. “We must invest in Ohio’s workers and in innovation and technology that spurs job creation so our families can prosper,” said in his budget letter. Investing in Ohio natural resources. DeWine proposed the creation of the “H2Ohio Fund” to ensure safe and clean water across Ohio by providing the resources necessary to plan, develop, and implement targeted solutions as per the governor’s budget letter. DeWine mentioned in the State of the State address that he planned to fund Ohio Senate Bill 2, which is a plan to reduce Lake Erie’s Western Basin phosphorus levels by 40 percent by 2025. These funds are reflected in the governor’s budget letter by allocating $900 million for water-quality projects over the next decade, including addressing the protection of natural bodies of waters and water sources such as Lake Erie. Supporting Local Communities Governor DeWine also proposed helping local communities by increasing the state’s child protective budget by $30 million per year for a total of $90 million annually to fund services better. DeWine also proposed increasing state support for criminal suspect defense by $60 million per year to assist local organizations in providing counsel for defendants who cannot afford an attorney, tripling the current 2019 fiscal budget.