COLUMBUS—House Democrats today announced the state Controlling Board approved more than $132 million in funding to bolster unemployment benefits, provide assistance for small businesses and manufacturers, and support state and local COVID-19 response efforts amid the worst global pandemic in more than a century.
The action comes as Ohio enters the next phase of the governor’s “restart,” which will see retail, personal services and outdoor dining begin to reopen this week.
“House Democrats agree with the health experts—without the necessary levels of testing in place, it’s too soon for a wholesale reopening of our state. We’re putting Ohioans at risk,” said Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron). “While these funds shore up some areas of our response, the reality is that a second spike could overwhelm our healthcare system and strain our social safety net, which could threaten essential support for Ohio families when they need it most.”
The Controlling Board approved more than $112 million in federal funds Monday, including:
- $52.5 million to support Ohio’s unemployment insurance program;
- $20.9 million to the Ohio Department of Health to aid the state’s COVID-19 response, combat substance abuse and overdoses, and support other federally funded programs;
- $15.9 million for state and local law enforcement’s coronavirus response, including the purchase of PPE and medical assistance to inmates in state and local facilities;
- Nearly $13 million to expand the state’s contact tracing program to detect, isolate and contain the spread of COVID-19;
- $3.8 million in federal CARES Act funding to assist Ohio manufacturers amid the global pandemic;
- $6.7 million for small business assistance;
- $116,227 to help local businesses seeking federal, state and local government contracts.
“Today, we were able to direct funds where they’re needed most—to support small businesses, provide relief to families out of work and to aid those on the front lines battling this virus in our communities. I’m encouraged with this action and look forward to working together to put Ohio in a position to emerge from this crisis stronger. We have more work to do,” said Controlling Board member Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire).
Additionally, the Controlling Board approved $20 million in state funds to support the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Service’s coronavirus response, including funds for pharmaceutical and medical supplies, PPE and other costs associated to the response.