By Terry Troy
In addition to the lifting the curfew imposed on restaurants and bars in Ohio last week, there is also good news for food and beverage industry and small business in general.
In unveiling their Executive Budget for the Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted outlined an aggressive plan to spur Ohio’s continued recovery by investing in communities, people and businesses. Through the Investing In Ohio Initiative, the Executive Budget launches a strategic effort to invest more than $1 billion toward accelerating economic growth and ensuring economic vitality.
“We have a unique opportunity to make significant investments that will spur growth and economic renewal across the state,” said Governor DeWine. “The Investing In Ohio Initiative supports both our people and our economy as we continue to prepare for the future and showcase Ohio as the premier place to live and work.”
The Investing In Ohio Initiative within the proposed Executive Budget includes $460 million to support Ohio’s small businesses that have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes: $200 million in grants for bars and restaurants, $150 million in grants for small business relief for applicants who previously applied and qualified, $50 million in grants for the lodging industry, $40 million in grants for indoor entertainment venues, and $20 million in grants for new businesses, many of which were unqualified to receive previous funding.
“It is a responsible, balanced budget that invests in our health, educational and economic recovery from the pandemic,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “We are championing career training and in-demand industry credentials that will help tens of thousands more Ohioans a year earn the skills that will prepare them for quality, good paying jobs without the high cost of a college education.”
The Investing In Ohio Initiative also includes a $70 million investment to upskill Ohio’s workforce. This funding works to ensure that businesses have access to the talent needed to be successful, while upskilling Ohioans who are looking to acquire in-demand, tech-focused credentials. The workforce investments also includes targeted funding for economically distressed rural and urban parts of Ohio. The Investing In Ohio Initiative includes a targeted investment of $200 million to support infrastructure projects that will attract new jobs and investment opportunities. Additionally, the budget makes a landmark investment towards broadband expansion by providing $250 million to help bridge the digital divide.
The proposed Executive Budget “blue book,” including Governor DeWine’s full budget recommendations, and budget highlights, can be found on budget.ohio.gov.