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Democrats Push For Community Investment From Ohio's Rainy Day Fund

Ohio State Sen. Joe Schiavoni
John Minchillo
Ohio State Sen. Joe Schiavoni wants to use 10 percent of the Ohio Rainy Day fund for opioid addiction treatment and recovery.

Democratic leaders are calling on the state to release some of the $2.7 billion in the state’s Rainy Day Fund. One senator says that money can be used to invest in the people.

Democratic state Sen. Joe Schiavoni is once again saying it’s time to use some savings to show communities the state cares about them by spending it on things like broadband, universal preschool and infrastructure.

“If you don’t invest in your people then you have people moving out of Ohio in order to build a life with their family,” Schiavoni says.

Gov. John Kasich has strongly opposed that. When adding to the fund last week, he said local government officials, in his words, "whine" about wanting money for special projects when it needs to be saved for an economic downturn.

The Ohio General Assembly would have to pass legislation in order for money from the Rainy Day Fund to be spent or transferred. Last year, Schiavoni proposed a bill, SB 154, that would allocate 10 percent of the reserve toward opioid addiction treatment and recovery. But it hasn't moved in the Ohio Senate since May 2017.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.