July 6, 2023 - Governor DeWine signed the State's two-year, $191 billion operating budget late Monday evening, before the July 4th holiday. Prominent items addressed in the budget include education changes, school funding, increased economic and workforce development, tax cuts, and health and human services investments. The DeWine-Husted Administration states this budget takes advantage of "Ohio's time to make strategic investments in our thriving economy, communities, and families in a manner that positions Ohio for continued success in the future."
Beginning Oct. 1, a Governor-appointed official will oversee the Department of Education instead of the State Board of Education. Additional education items include setting teacher salaries at a minimum of $35,000 and offering $5,000 in-state scholarships to students in the top %5 of their class (effective 2025). Foodbanks will receive additional funding, and the Local Government Fund and Public Library fund is increasing.
Specific budget items of interest to the co-ops:
- Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives (OEC) lead the charge in getting Coal Combustion Residual (CCR) language changes into the budget. The change will streamline and reduce duplicative groundwater monitoring processes by requiring the Ohio EPA to adopt a state CCR permitting program where groundwater monitoring rules are equivalent to and no more stringent than the federal requirements. This victory allows power plant operators, like Buckeye Power, to comply with one set of groundwater monitoring rules instead of two, resulting in a saving for Buckeye Power, and ultimately relieving costs on our members.
- OEC identified harmful electric vehicle (EV) charging station language included in the budget bill. The language would have prohibited electric co-ops from servicing their membership by making it nearly impossible to provide publicly accessible EV charging stations. OEC was successful in lobbying for the removal of the language before the bill’s passage.
- The budget provides $667 million in the revamped All Ohio Future Fund to help utilities prepare sites for "transformational economic development."