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NPR News

Ohio Built Up Savings Over The Past Few Years. COVID-19 Will Wipe Out Much Of That

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This story is part of an NPR nationwide analysis of states' revenue and budgets during the pandemic.

In Ohio, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine gained recognition from health officials around the U.S. for taking proactive steps in shutting down restaurants, stores and other businesses early in the coronavirus pandemic. While state officials say the closures helped flatten the curve of a projected COVID-19 spread, the shutdown also triggered a steep drop in revenue from sales and commercial activity taxes.

The state has closed the gap by putting a freeze on new hires, contract services and travel, while also cutting more than $775 million in spending for the fiscal year that ended June 30. Higher education, K-12 schools and Medicaid, which take up the biggest portion of the state's overall budget, saw the biggest cuts.

"As many of our businesses and citizens of the state of Ohio are having to make difficult decisions, it is incumbent upon us in government to make those same decisions," DeWine said.

DeWine has said he does plan to utilize Ohio's $2.7 billion rainy day fund, which was replenished after the Great Recession.

Andy Chow is a state government reporter for The Statehouse News Bureau in Columbus, Ohio.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit .

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