State Operating Budget

Work is well underway by the Ohio General Assembly on the state operating budget, which is responsible for funding all state agencies and programs and a broad number of key priorities and initiatives that benefit the State of Ohio. Included within the introduced version of the state operating budget, which broadly reflects the policy priorities of the DeWine Administration, there are several key funding items important to the GAC related to economic and workforce development, innovation, K-12 and higher education, child care, and much more. The as-introduced version of the budget has led many advocates to be optimistic about the potential support key initiatives stand to receive after a better-than-expected two years in terms of Ohio’s tax revenues, but much work remains.


Following the Governor’s recommendation(s) and the introduction of House Bill 33 by Rep. Jay Edwards, the House Finance Committee is considering a number of amendments to the proposed appropriations and will soon introduce a substitute bill that will include edits and further emphasis on the House’s priorities. Once the House completes its work on the legislation, the Senate will have its turn to do the same and then a Conference Committee consisting of leaders from the House, Senate, and Administration will wrap things up and send a final bill to the Governor’s desk for his signature. Per Ohio’s Constitution, a final state operating budget must be completed by June 30th.


If you and your organization have specific areas of interest and/or concern within the state operating budget, the GAC can help you connect with relevant lawmakers and Finance Committee staff if you would like to communicate your position. Alternatively, we can separately help promote your cause within our own efforts if/when you alert us to what your priorities are, and they align with our broader Public Policy Agenda’s goals and objectives. As additional information comes out on the upcoming substitute bill, we will surely keep you in the loop. 

Innovation Hub Efforts

Within House Bill 33 the proposed state operating budget, the Governor included $150 million for new Innovation Hubs in small and mid-sized cities across Ohio. This line item is directly tied to conversations that the GAC and a number of its partners have had with Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik, and other state leaders regarding the need for new funding to support R&D, commercialization, and workforce development in various key sectors across Ohio.


The conversations referenced above began almost two years ago and have focused on how new funding can be used to unlock the full potential of various unique high-growth opportunities across the state, ours being around polymers and advanced materials. While other regions have mobilized around this initiative once it materialized, none have the alignment and/or prior planning benefitting their advocacy for this program which is all thanks to the deep collaboration we have in this space through our Polymer Industry Cluster and the work this group has put into educating key decision makers on the need to further support Ohio’s various innovation ecosystems.

As a region who is advantageously positioned for this kind of funding, this is the GAC’s top priority within the state operating budget for Greater Akron. Click HERE for a recent letter of support detailing the importance of funding new Innovation Hubs across Ohio, which includes a number of statewide partners and private sector companies. Click HERE for a news article covering our most recent meeting with Lt. Governor Husted.

Impact Ohio

Recently, the GAC partnered with the University of Akron and Ohio Chamber on hosting an Impact Ohio event in Akron. During this event, we had over 150 business leaders convened to discuss a number of key economic and workforce development issues with U.S. Congresswoman Emilia Sykes, Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik, Akron’s mayoral candidates, and leaders of the Polymer Industry Cluster. The insights and perspectives shared by our guest speakers shed light on the various opportunities our region faces and those in attendance had opportunities to ask questions and talk about how Greater Akron is positioning itself for success.


See a short video below for key takeaways from this event.

Polymer Industry Cluster D.C. Fly-In

Recently, the GAC traveled to Washington, D.C. with several leaders from the Polymer Industry Cluster to discuss a few key priorities with our NEO congressional delegation in support of Greater Ohio’s polymer industry. During our trip, we met with six Members of Congress, various key agency staffers, and attended the Ohio Birthday Party (which is a large gathering of key Ohio stakeholders in D.C.). The items we discussed ranged from policy changes that need to happen, such as redesignating rubber as a strategic material, and upcoming funding opportunities, like the United States Economic Development Administration’s Regional Technology and Innovation Hub Program. All of this is related to our goal of advancing the region’s polymer and advanced materials industry for the broader benefit of Greater Akron’s economic growth and success.    

GAC Testimony on Senate Bill 60 

Recently, the GAC and several of its partnering organizations from the Ohio Metro Chambers Coalition testified in support of Senate Bill 60, which would create a new Certified Mental Health Assistant degree. This new educational program is needed to help address the workforce issues born from the mental health and addiction crisis afflicting our state and would help address the large void in the behavioral health workforce shortage. Being led and piloted by NEOMED, this program would ideally (likely) be adopted by other Ohio universities and provide incentives to keep graduates in Ohio.  


Click HERE to review the GAC’s proponent testimony. 

Upcoming Mayoral Election Events

Mayoral Roundtables

The Greater Akron Chamber (GAC) is facilitating a series of dialogs with multiple mayoral candidates to learn about their respective visions for the City of Akron and future role in our region's economic development ecosystem. As a core partner of the Elevate Greater Akron initiative, the GAC is deeply interested in understanding how each candidate would collaborate on key initiatives and work with the business community on addressing important issues. Each candidate will have an opportunity to address attendees, participate in Q&A and otherwise converse with Akron's business leaders on important issues.

April 6th:

2:30 p.m. – Doors open for

refreshments and networking

3:00 p.m. - Shammas Malik

4:00 p.m. - Tara Mosley

Register Here

Akron Mayoral Primary Debate

Doors open on April 12th at 6:00 pm. Free and open to the public through ticket requests. Requests must be submitted by Friday, April 7.

Register Here

For questions please contact John Rizzo, Vice President of Government Affairs at

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