Ohio Department of Development Budget Request Promotes Ohio as “Best Place to Live, Learn, Work, and Visit”
President & CEO, OEDA
The Ohio Department of Development’s budget request provides a glimpse into the agency’s policy priorities and builds on successful programs.
The Department’s budget is heavy on what ODOD Director Lydia Mihalik called important investments that “strengthen our communities, bolster our workforce, support small and minority businesses, and showcase Ohio’s many assets.” Continued expansion of residential broadband, funding for the Appalachian Community Grants program, and a new Minority Business Outreach Grant Program are three standout items in the FY 2024-202 state budget.
The Department’s proposal provides continued support for the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Program (OBREP) by the 134th General Assembly. The program has already provided $232 million in grants to fund last mile infrastructure. The line items that fund the residential expansion program and the operations of BroadbandOhio would grow by nearly $100 million in FY 2024 to $332 million, with another $2 million in FY 25. The proposal also includes permissive language to allow unspent FY 2024 dollars to be carried into FY 2025.
Federal dollars available via the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the American Rescue Plan from the American Rescue Plan may also become a funding source for broadband expansion in Ohio.
The Appalachian Community Grants program, which is expected to infuse $500 million into the region, is also a priority in the department’s budget request. The grant program was also created in the last General Assembly. It seeks to support “transformational” projects in Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties.
Under the Appalachia Community Grants Program, $80 million of funding is expected to be appropriated for the pre-implementation phase. The agency seeks to build on the program in 2024 and is seeking $420 million the second year of the biennium The Department is seeking an additional $3 million for workforce assistance programming.
Another new program, the Minority Business Outreach Grant Program, is proposed to provide funding to minority businesses that are not eligible for other assistance programs. The Department is requesting $5 million per year for the Minority Business Outreach Grant Program.
Governor DeWine is expected to unveil his budget proposal on Jan. 31, when he will also deliver his State of the State address. Stay tuned for more information about these and other budget items impacting economic development in Ohio.
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