The state is imposing salary reductions on nonunion employees and asking bargaining units for union workers to consider pay cuts or a freeze to deal with a $2.5 billion coronavirus crater in the state budget in the coming fiscal year.
Ohio Budget Director Kimberly Murnieks announced the moves late Monday afternoon as the state deals with a huge income- and sales-tax revenue loss accompanying an unprecedented loss of jobs.
Gov. Mike DeWine ordered $775 million in education-heavy budget cuts last month to balance the state budget by the end of the fiscal year June 30.
Murnieks said in a statement that the budget hole will grow to an estimated $2.5 billion in the fiscal year beginning July 1, with the state expected to draw down the $2.7 billion rainy-day fund and make other cuts to “unsustainable” spending.
Unions representing state workers are being asked to meet with state officials by June 15 to discuss ways to control personnel costs, she said. Unionized employees are in line under their contracts to receive a 3% raise in the coming fiscal year.
State cabinet directors will receive 4% reductions in their annual salaries, Murnieks said.
The state budget director also said that nonunion exempt employees will lose pay equivalent to 10 days of unpaid leave, or an overall 3.8% reduction in their cost, in the coming fiscal year. Former Gov. Ted Strickland instituted “cost savings days” to help deal with the Great Recession after he took office in 2009.
Lawmakers also will be asked to institute a pay freeze for exempt employees in the 2020-21 budget year and freeze step advancements that could otherwise raise their salaries, Murnieks said.
A state hiring freeze, except for positions vital to dealing with the cornavirus pandemic, will remain in effect, she said.