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Coronavirus In Ohio: State's $2.7 Billion Rainy Day Fund May Only Cover Half Of Fallout

Now-Lt. Gov. Jon Husted speaking at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce Government Day in Cincinnati, Ohio on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018.
John Minchillo
Associated Press
Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says the state may need twice its rainy day fund to cover the financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

The financial impact of Ohio’s shutdowns for coronavirus is enormous, and the billions of dollars that have been set aside by the state over the last seven years may not be enough to cover it all.

Nearly 1 million Ohioans have filed for unemployment, which means the state has lost almost a fifth of the jobs it had a month ago.

Last month’s preliminary state revenue was down 10.5% from estimates, off by $159.4 million. The Office of Budget and Management said sales and use taxes missed projections by more than 8%, or $68 million. Personal income taxes were off by more than 5%, or $22.3 million.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said the at-capacity rainy day fund may not be even close to enough to cover everything.

“Based on current projections, that $2.9 billion, we might need twice that amount just to balance the budget over the next 15 months," Husted says.

State agency directors have been ordered to find cuts of up to 20% in their budgets, though some, like Medicaid, will likely need more money.

Husted said mayors are telling him they’re expecting cuts between 15% and 25%, which he said will mean reductions in police, fire and other important local services.