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DeWine administration defends state incentives for Intel in new budget

Gov. Mike DeWine announced details of a $3.5 billion budget Tuesday, a portion of which will be paid for in cash.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Calling it one of the most unusual budgets in state history, Gov. Mike DeWine said the state will pay at least $1.5 billion of the $2.8 billion of the state's bondable budget in cash, saving Ohio taxpayers $1.6 billion in interest payments over time.

The big winner in the state budget was Intel. The state provided tax incentives for the following:

  • $600 million for an onshoring incentive grant, which is performance-based, to help offset costs compared with factories built in Asian markets
  • $101 million for local water and wastewater capacity upgrades
  • $95 million for local roads
  • $110 million for state roads
  • $300 million for a state-of-the-art water reclamation facility

Intel has promised to hire 3,000 workers for its new factories coming to Licking County. It's not entirely clear how many will be from Ohio since the agreement didn't stipulate a number.

"Everybody who works at the plant will be an Ohioan," said Lt. Governor John Husted.

Ohio is giving nearly $2 billion in tax breaks to Intel which helped incentive the chip maker to move to the Buckeye State along with the companies it plans to attract here.

"That was part of the agreement that all states were competing for to win because it's not just Intel, it's the companies that we will bring with them that will create the economic momentum for a generation," Husted said.

Intel's move is not welcome to those who live nearby. Residents worry about the impacts on well water and their home values.

10TV reporter Kevin Landers asked DeWine about those concerns.

"I understand people's concerns the unknown is always tough and I fully understand that. If I was out there I would have questions. What we are trying to do is be transparent. We've talked to Intel, they agree with us the most important thing is to be transparent," DeWine said.

Besides Intel, $100 million from the budget will cover a new round of school safety grants for public, private, and parochial schools. The grants will be used to pay for baseline security in school buildings, classrooms, parking lots and elsewhere on school property.

House Bill 687 will allocate $515 million, the largest such investment in Ohio history, to help provide significant improvements in lodges, campgrounds, cabins, dams, trails, and natural areas, in addition to continuing the historic preservation of the Muskingum River Lock and Dam.

The bill also allocates $403 million to projects for Ohio’s jails and prisons and another $50 million in grants to address Ohio’s jails most pressing safety and security needs. This money is in addition to the $50 million in grant money awarded to six jails last year for much needed construction and renovation projects.

Another $22 million is going towards Division of State Fire Marshal improvement projects, including investments in modern training facilities such as:

  • $12.8 million to build a new, high-rise training structure that simulates firefighting in various environments, including houses, apartments, offices, and light industrial facilities.
  • $6.1 million for a search-and-rescue training center that presents a variety of real-world environments for fire, EMS, and law enforcement training.

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