Happy New Year!
Fiscal New Year, that is, because July 1 marked the start of state government’s fiscal year 2014 and the first day of of new biennial state budget that will take the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) through June 2015. It’s a time for all of us here – working with you, our friends and stakeholders – to make a fresh start, with new energy and enthusiasm for the goals we’ve set for the years ahead.
Governor Kasich recently signed the new state budget into law, and it builds on the job-creating policies in the budget he signed just two years ago when Ohio and the nation were just beginning to climb out of the toughest economic downturn since the great depression. For example, this budget features:
- A $2.7 billion net tax cut to make Ohio more competitive with other states and the world – for jobs and economic growth, including a 10-percent personal income tax reduction over three years and a 50 percent small-business tax deduction on the first $250,000 of business income.
- A new Achievement Everwhere Plan for Ohio’s local schools that delivers $1.5 billion in additional funds to help create a world-class education system and encourages schools to pursue innovative new education strategies to improve student success.
- A new funding plan for Ohio’s public colleges and universities that rewards improved graduation rates in order to make Ohio a more desirable place for job creators to expand or relocate and to strengthen our economy.
- An additional $3 billion in federal, state and local funds to meet Ohio’s pressing transportation infrastructure needs – a crucial factor for a growing economy.
As for ODH, the state is committing this budget cycle to standardizing how healthcare is delivered across Ohio by creating efficiencies, allowing for organizations and programs to modernize their structures and addressing public health priorities – like tobacco cessation and infant health – through programs that are proven to have the greatest impact with the highest return on investment.
The new state budget will prioritize prevention activities and help Ohioans achieve and maintain good health at every stage of life. Further, this budget takes a bold step forward to change the culture of public health delivery in Ohio by facilitating the use of additional tools that will enable public health to collaborate; integrate data, programs and services; and improve the quality of services provided.
As we celebrate the state of the state’s new fiscal year, we look forward to working with you and all the Ohioans we serve. We are optimistic about the future of our agency and our outstanding programs as together we work to protect and improve the health of all Ohioans. We also want to thank the Ohio General Assembly for their forward thinking commitment to public health.
Theodore E. Wymyslo, MD
Ohio Department of Health