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Ohio set to spend first round of federal Rescue Plan dollars

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 8:19 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The state of Ohio is preparing to spend its first round of federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan. They’re one-time dollars and the hope is that they will help with some major issues.

When Ohioans lost their jobs during the pandemic and looked to unemployment for income, those dollars came to Ohio from the federal government in the form of a loan. Paying it back, with interest, would have fallen on Ohio business owners in September if not for the bill signing Tuesday.

State leaders are directing federal funds to pay those loans back.

“The burden you are lifting today off the shoulders of employers that would have begun in September with those higher payments is a huge help,” said Pat Tiberi of the Ohio Business Round Table.

Business owners may have seen higher unemployment premiums but instead Ohio will use part of the $2.7 billion from the American Rescue Act to pay the loan back. Governor Mike DeWine has been outlining other places that will get some of that money. They include a quarter of a billion dollars for water and sewer infrastructure.

“I can’t tell you how often we meet with some community where they tell us we have 70 people out on this road. They have to truck in their water every day. We have sewage systems that are failing,” said DeWine.

$84 million will go to pediatric mental health. Experts estimate 1 in 5 children have a mental health issue.

“Yet less than half of them are able to get the care that they need because of access problems, workforce shortages and this bill by signing today will provide a huge investment in both the inpatient and outpatient centers,” said Nick Lashutka of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Council.

Ohio gets another $2.7 billion to spend next year, no plans have been made for those dollars just yet.

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