COVID-19 State Updates: May 6, 2020
Ohio now has at least 20,969 coronavirus cases, including 1,135 people who have died.
The 79 deaths reported Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Health was the second highest total since the outbreak of the coronavirus in early March.
State information for children with special healthcare needs is here, guidance on Ohio travel is here, a checklist for businesses and employers is here, and a guide for businesses that are preparing to open is here.
Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, Governor DeWine announced $775 million in reductions to Ohio's General Revenue Fund for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020 which ends on June 30. At the end of February and prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, state revenues for the fiscal year were ahead of estimates by over $200 million. As of the end of April, Ohio's revenues were below the budgeted estimates by $776.9 million.
Additional details are expected, but because Ohio is mandated to balance its budget each year, and in addition to identifying areas of savings, the following budget reductions will be made for the next two months:
Medicaid: $210 million
K12 Foundation Payment Reduction: $300 million
Other Education Budget Line Items: $55 million
Higher Education: $110 million
All Other Agencies: $100 million
Governor DeWine said they wanted to let schools know what they will be dealing with going into the next year, and they hope cuts beyond the initial ones announced on Tuesday will be minimal.
The budget reductions are in addition to Governor DeWine's March 23 directive to freeze hiring, new contracts, pay increases, and promotions at all state agencies, boards, and commissions. The new budget reductions will not apply to critical services available to Ohioans or COVID-19 pandemic services. At this time, money to balance the Fiscal Year 2020 budget will not be drawn from Ohio's Budget Stabilization Fund, otherwise known as the "rainy-day fund."
Projections by Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Director Kim Murnieks indicate that the state’s revenues will continue to be below estimates in the coming months as Ohio moves through the COVID-19 crisis.
The Governor is reviewing reports from the working groups advising him on the reopening of restaurants, bars, day cares and salons and he hopes to make an announcement this week.
House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes and Representative Beth Liston discussed House Democratic Caucus priorities yesterday, including but not limited to addressing health disparities, expanding broadband access to make learning from home more accessible, and the need for contingency plans for schools in the fall.
A task force of school superintendents, principals and teachers is considering different options for the fall. One option is dividing students into two groups, sending one group to school for two days and the other on two separate days, so the school would have fewer students at a time. No decision has been made, Governor DeWine said.
The Ohio Turnpike Commission has imposed a hiring freeze and plans to reduce some work shifts, among other cost-cutting measures.