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Governor DeWine Issues Statement on the Passage of House Bill 168 Highlighting Administration Priorities

Governor Mike DeWine today applauded the work of the Ohio General Assembly this afternoon as they sent priority legislation, Amended House Bill 168, to his desk for signature.  

“The actions that we took over the past year, including cutting state spending, freezing hiring, and not relying on the Rainy Day Fund put us in a position today to use these recovery funds to make forward-looking investments," said Governor DeWine. "These investments in Ohio’s future address my critical priorities: strengthening our children’s behavioral health system, improving the water infrastructure in neighborhoods all across the state, and providing local leaders in every community with funds to address their unique, post-COVID needs.  And by paying off the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund loan to the federal government, our businesses can focus on job one which is getting Ohioans back to work.”

House Bill 168 includes four key provisions, appropriating funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA):

  • $84 million to support infrastructure improvements at Ohio’s pediatric behavioral health care facilities to allow for safe placement of youth in crisis. The demand for pediatric behavioral health services exceeded capacity prior to the pandemic and has reached emergency levels over the last year. This is a key priority of the administration as Ohio works to transform children’s behavioral health and increase access and quality of care across all regions of the state. The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services will administer this priority initiative.
  • $250 million to establish a Water and Sewer Quality Program to provide grants to Ohio’s counties, townships, and municipal governments to strategically address serious water issues that have been building in Ohio for decades and ensure communities have clean and safe water.  The Ohio Department of Development will administer this priority initiative.
  • $422 million will be available to every community across the state to support local and regional economic recovery initiatives. Each and every community in Ohio was touched by the pandemic. This is the first of two rounds of funding local governments will receive as a result of ARPA to address the economic impact of the pandemic and continue a strong recovery statewide. The Office of Budget and Management will soon launch an application portal and expects payments to local governments to begin in early July.
Approximately $1.5 billion to repay the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund advancement from the federal government. This is a crucial step in Ohio’s economic resurgence. Using available federal dollars to repay the federal loan relieves Ohio businesses from experiencing large increases in their federal unemployment payroll taxes for years to come – freeing up capital to invest in their businesses and hire workers. Governor DeWine announced this decision to invest ARPA funding to support employers on April 8.