Gov. DeWine presents Ohio State of the State address

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COLUMBUS, Oh.-(AP) 3/5/2019 6:07 P.M.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine began his State of the State address with an issue he has discussed most in the past two weeks: a proposed 18-cent increase in the state's gasoline tax.

State road repairs would benefit, but the governor adds there's also a need for roadways maintained by local governments.

"A dollar of gas tax in 2005—the last time the gas tax was raised—now only buys 58 cents worth of road and bridge repairs," said the Republican governor. "And our local partners—townships, villages, cities, and counties—have received no relief for 14 years."

30th District State Senator Frank Hoagland agrees the increase is well worth the additional cost to motorists.

"18 cents ends up being-depending on what kind of vehicle you have and fuel economy you get-two cups of coffee from Starbucks a month?," Hoagland said after the address. "As opposed to spending $200, if you're lucky, for repairing your tire you just blew out?"

The governor proposed more money for local communities to combat the opioid epidemic, alternative treatment programs for offenders with substance abuse problems, and programs for at-risk children.

"We are also going to direct significant state resources to Ohio's most-in-need children to help them overcome the barriers and disadvantages of poverty and trauma," DeWine said. "We have both a moral and an economic imperative to support these students every way we can"

But some legislators, while praising DeWine's initiatives, are concerned about their cost.

"There's a lot of issues he addressed we need to pay attention to," 95th District State Representative Don Jones acknowledged. "We'll just have to make sure we do it in a responsible, financial way."

Ohio's legislature, like West Virginia's first went into session in January. But in many ways, it's work has just begun.


3/5/2019

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Latest on Gov. Mike DeWine's first State of the State speech (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Ohio's Republican legislative leaders are praising priorities outlined in GOP Gov. Mike DeWine's first State of the State speech Tuesday but expressing a wait-and-see approach on how - and how much - the state might fund some of the top items.

DeWine's proposals include an 18-cent gas-tax increase to help fix roads and bridges.

House Speaker Larry Householder says he understands more funding is needed for that. Senate President Larry Obhof, who has been more skeptical of the proposal, says lawmakers must collaborate to figure out what the need is.

DeWine also called for more investment to preserve water quality in Lake Erie and other waterways.

Obhof praised the idea. He and Householder say they're awaiting more specifics, including how much funding might be sought for those efforts.

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1:05 p.m.

Gov. Mike DeWine has promised a new push to address health issues in Ohio including opioid overdose deaths and infant mortality.

The Republican governor announced in Tuesday's State of the State speech the creation of a new public health fund that will use public and private dollars on treatment and prevention programs.

He says the money for local communities will support treatment and recovery programs and help children and adults suffering from mental illness and addiction.

DeWine says he's directing his cabinet directors overseeing mental health issues, aging, human services, health and others to focus on these issues.

The governor is also calling on renewed efforts to preserve water quality in the state and in particularly Lake Erie.

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12:45 p.m.

Gov. Mike DeWine has pushed lawmakers for an increase in Ohio's gas tax to fix what he calls the state's crumbling roads and dangerous bridges in his first State of the State speech as governor.

The Republican says his proposal for an 18-cent increase is a "minimalist approach" that will raise just enough to fix some of the worst problems.

DeWine says he understands lawmakers may want to reduce the amount he's seeking. But he says if Ohioans think roads are bad now, "you haven't seen anything yet" if action isn't taken.

DeWine has brought the event back to Columbus following the decision by his Republican predecessor, Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik), to hold seven of his eight speeches in cities around Ohio.