Ohio lawmakers are expected to begin hearings this week on Gov. Ted Strickland’s $1.57 billion economic stimulus plan.
The hearings come a month after the Democratic governor trimmed his original $1.7 billion plan to appease Republican legislators who said it relied too heavily on borrowing. While the original plan called for the sale of $1.5 billion of bonds, the current package calls for $950 million. Voters would need to approve roughly $400 million of general obligation and liquor profit-backed bonds, while the remaining $550 million has already been authorized. By decreasing the amount of debt in the original plan, the state will save about $500 million in interest costs over five years, according to officials.
The economic stimulus package is projected to create up to 57,000 new jobs, many in the biomedical and renewable energy fields, and kick-start a variety of capital improvement projects across the state.
The proposal comes as Ohio faces a weakening economy and flat revenues that could leave a deficit of $1.5 billion in the current budget.