Ohio State will lose out on $14,921,919 of its more than $392 million state government appropriation due to the state’s budget cuts made following lower-than-projected April tax revenues, according to documents from the Ohio Office of Budget and Management.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced in a press conference Tuesday that the state would be cutting $109,088,900 from the Department of Higher Education’s original fiscal year 2020 budget, resulting in a 3.8 percent budget reduction for all public colleges in Ohio, according to Ohio Office of Budget and Management documents. The cuts are effective for the remainder of 2020, and the spending reductions must be made in the next two months, DeWine said.
“The cruel nature of an economic downturn is that at the time when you are in need of a social safety net, it’s also the time when government revenues shrink,” DeWine said at the press conference. “We’re trying to preserve basic services for people while we get through this period, and one of the things that we’re going to try to achieve is some stability.”
DeWine said the state will also cut state aid to K-12 schools by a total of $300 million and Medicaid by $210 million, among other cuts. Overall, spending reductions total $775 million.
University spokesperson Ben Johnson said Ohio State is assessing the funding reduction but has already taken steps to save up to $25 million through June 30, including a hiring freeze, a pause in off-cycle salary increases and restricting university-sponsored travel. Individual colleges were also asked to prepare budget scenarios for 5 percent, 10 percent and 20 percent reductions.
According to a release from the Ohio Office of Budget and Management, the cuts are to balance the state’s fiscal year 2020 budget after April tax revenues were $866.5 million below the estimate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While we do not know what the coming months will hold, we do know that COVID-19 is here with us and will be here with us for a while,” DeWine said in the press conference. “That does not exempt us from the obligation to balance our budget. Making difficult budget decisions now will help us down the road, and it will help us while we continue our discussions for the next fiscal year budget.”
A more detailed explanation on state revenues will be included in the monthly financial report to be released May 11.