April 3, 2019News » Governor DeWine Proposes His First Biennial Budget

Policy Update for MyCom – 2020-21 Budget

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s budget is full of new spending – albeit not massive amounts – on children services, water quality and drug addiction treatment. The new Republican governor’s proposal would spend $150.4 billion over the next two years – a 13.3 percent increase from former Gov. John Kasich’s final budget.


Voices for Ohio’s Children has selected several issues will affect children in the coming years:

Lead: Voices is pleased  ​to see the ODH funding to demolish “approximately 50 lead-blighted properties” and “control lead hazards in about 175 homes for low and middle income families” will be accomplished in part with the CHIP program. Current CHIP lead abatement program is $5M per fiscal year (FY) in Medicaid funds with a state match – the total match amount is not broken out in the FY20-FY21 Budget but it appears that Medicaid will pay the state match for the CHIP program. The Governor has also made a commitment to ensure every child in the Medicaid program has the required lead tests. It appears this issue could be addressed through the rebidding of MCO contracts. Early intervention will receive an increase in the Department of Developmental Disabilities. The agency’s budget for Early Intervention (EI) will receive an increase of $24.7 M for a total of $46.5M over FY20-FY21 for Part C EI supports (GRF 322421). This increase is not just for lead but also includes neonatal abstinence syndrome). EI service will now be automatically eligible to children with elevated blood lead levels without having to demonstrate a developmental delay


School Nutrition: The Governor’s budget calls for a $60 million increase in federal funding for the Federal School Lunch, Federal School Breakfast, and Child and Adult Food Programs. These programs reimburse schools, child care centers, after school programs, and adult day cares for providing nutritious meals and snacks that contribute to the health and wellness of children, older adults, and chronically disabled persons.


Evidence-Based Prevention: The Governor’s budget calls for an investment of $20 million to provide Ohio’s schools with free, evidence based prevention curricula and professional development for school personnel. Ohio’s local Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Boards, in partnership with their local school districts, will receive $18 million in fiscal year 2020 to purchase evidence-based prevention curricula that provides students with the social and emotional skills they need to make healthy decisions throughout their lives. An additional $2 million will be provided to Ohio’s Educational Service Centers over the biennium to conduct professional development for teachers on prevention education.


Publicly Funded Child Care: The Governor’s proposed budget will invest more than $99 million annually to improve the quality of Ohio’s child care system. This funding will be targeted to help providers recruit qualified educators and offer equal access to quality child care settings for more of Ohio’s children to access high quality care.


Evidence-Based Home Visiting: Evidence-based home visiting is proven to help lower infant mortality rates, increase kindergarten readiness, and improve parenting skills. The executive budget proposes investing an additional $30 million over the biennium, bringing the total state funding for evidence-based home visiting to nearly $50 million. For every dollar invested in Home Visiting Programs, there is up to six dollars in return. The executive budget also creates Pay for Success pilots, a public-private partnership aimed at increasing the availability of home visiting programs.


Student Wellness and Success: The Governor’s budget calls for $550 million over the biennium to support student wellness and success in schools. Schools will receive additional funding for mental health counseling, wraparound supports, mentoring, after school programs, and more. Schools will be encouraged to partner with local organizations including Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Boards; Educational Service Centers; County Boards of Developmental Disabilities; community-based mental health treatment providers; local health departments; local departments of Job and Family Services; and non-profits with experience serving children.


Ohio Legislation

The Ohio Legislature has begun hearing bills and moving several key pieces of legislation. Bills that Voices is following include:

  • House Bill 62: This bill, Ohio’s new transportation budget, raises the gas tax and diesel fuel tax for the state of Ohio. The gas tax will increase by 10.5 cents per gallon, while diesel will increase by 19 cents per gallon, both effective on July 1, 2019.
  • House Bill 154: This legislation dissolves all current academic distress commissions and repeals the law on the establishment of new commissions, requires the implementation of a community learning center model for schools within school districts for which an academic distress commission had previously been established or schools that are determined as low-performing by the Department of Education for three consecutive years, and requires the Department of Education to provide administrative and organizational support in the implementation of a mandatory community learning center.


Federal Policy Landscape

Any efforts to cut or reshape entitlement programs – programs with mandatory funding – such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SNAP will fail. Federal programs either have mandatory funding (which can be permanent or multi-year) or discretionary (which requires annual appropriations.) Children’s programs with mandatory funding that are safe from any legislative efforts to cut or change them include Medicaid, CHIP, foster care, adoption assistance, the mandatory part of CCDBG, child support, SNAP, the national school lunch program, the school breakfast program, child and adult care food program, special milk program, and home visiting (MIECHV). The EITC, the CTC, and the CDCTC are tax provisions, and as a result, they are safe from legislative attacks in the coming year.


The authorizing legislation for the TANF block grant and child nutrition programs have expired. TANF is currently funded through June 2019 and will need its funding extended as part of a continuing resolution since reauthorization before June is highly unlikely). While the child nutrition legislation has expired, most of the programs in it are permanently authorized and their funding is not at risk. However some programs in that bill always require annual appropriations, including the summer food service program and WIC. These are currently funded through September, 2019.


Two key issues for child advocates around appropriations are keeping–and increasing–the big increase in Child Care and Development Block Grant funding (CCDBG) that was included in the FY 2018 and FY 2019 budget deal, and getting adequate and timely Census funding. The Census Bureau needs $8 billion just for the Decennial Census, and may well need more to complete the census in areas that suffer disasters. This funding also needs to be timely; the Bureau has to be able to hire staff and conduct other activities in the fall if it is to be prepared for April 1, 2020 Census Day. Therefore, if you talk to your legislators about Census funding, we suggest you talk both about the need for at least $8 billion and for a “Full year Funding Anomaly” in any continuing resolution after October 1, so that the Bureau can get the increase it needs when it needs it rather than waiting until a final appropriations bill is passed.


For more information visit Voices for Ohio’s Children website.