DeWine pleased with consensus on budget priorities, concerned about farmers

Rick Rouan The Columbus Dispatch (TNS)

Gov. Mike DeWine preached consensus to black leaders gathered for the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Foundation’s 2019 Statewide Conference on Friday.

He said that the Ohio House and Senate state budget proposals have broad consensus with the issues put forth in his budget proposal.

And he outlined several priorities of his administration, pointing out how he thought they lined up with the priorities of the caucus.

“We’re seeing a real consensus in Ohio on the issues. Frankly, these are issues, by and large, that you all have championed for years and years and years,” he said.

DeWine again touted many of his budget proposals, including $550 million for “wraparound” social services at schools, while acknowledging some of the issues that caucus members raised this week as part of its Juneteenth observance. He said that the state needs to do more to improve disparities in infant mortality rates and the death rate among mothers in Ohio.

Before his speech, DeWine told reporters that he will renew his call for a federal disaster designation for Ohio farmers whose crops have been flooded by heavy rainfall as his administration prepares a second letter to be sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture next week.

“We really have a huge disaster. I don’t think people fully yet grasp how serious the disaster is for so many farmers, because it not only impacts the farmers but it impacts the whole community,” DeWine said. “A lot of different jobs are really at stake.”

DeWine already sent a letter on June 14 urging the disaster designation for Ohio, and his spokesman said the administration is gathering more data to send in a second letter. This week, DeWine visited farms in Northwest Ohio, where he said some farmers have put in only 5% of their crops with little prospect of planting more.

Ohio’s entire 16-member delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week signed a letter asking Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to increase the payment rate for prevented planting for Midwestern farmers who have been unable to plant because of flooding.

Rick Rouan The Columbus Dispatch (TNS)

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