Statewide Investment, Local Impact
A Guest Column by State Senator Scott Oelslager
The Ohio Senate recently gave approval for its version of the state's biennial operating budget. The bill invests in essential public services, maintains historic levels of state aid for education and preserves key tax reforms while reducing government overhead and closing a projected revenue shortfall of roughly $1 billion. This was a very tight budget, but we listened carefully to Ohioans to understand their priorities and expectations of financial stability for the state of Ohio. 

Stark County will see improvements in areas such as transportation, infrastructure, business, and taxation, as well as receiving funding for vital services such as the Boys and Girls Club. I am proud of this fiscally responsible statewide budget, but I am equally as proud of the positive, direct impact it will have on Stark County. As a Senator, my primary focus has been to represent my constituents in the best possible way, and I believe this budget is a testament to that. Below are some brief summaries of the benefits that Stark County can expect to see over the next biennium.
  • $250,000 for the regional transportation improvement project (RTIP) in Stark County for Route 30 project
  • $250,000 for Massillon Dam Project
  • Tourism development by supporting the Pro Football Hall of Fame 
  • $100,000 for Akron-Canton Airport 
  • $50,000 per year for Massillon Boys and Girls Club
The Senate also included roughly $180 million in additional funding to fight Ohio's opiate crisis, on top of the nearly $1 billion already spent by the state annually on drug abuse and addiction.
  • Included is $60 million in funding for child protective services and programs to support children in drug-affected families
  • $2 million dollars over the biennium to support county coroners and criminal and forensic labs who are facing case overload issues
  •  $20 million capital commitment for the expansion of treatment and recovery housing
  •  Funding critical upgrades to the OARRS system, a statewide effort to track prescriptions and combat prescription abuse 
  • Adding $5 million investment to help counties establish drug abuse response teams, among other initiatives 
These investments will help improve the lives of Ohioans and support communities across the state. Without strong and responsible budgeting year after year, it would not be impossible to fund such projects, but as Ohio’s economy continues to grow it allows our state to invest in the projects that matter most locally.
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