State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) today announced a new plan to assist struggling communities hit hardest by Governor Kasich’s budget cuts and tax shifting policies over the past several years. Since taking office, Gov. Kasich cut over $1.7 billion in local community funding. Over 70 cities have lost at least $1 million each year due to Kasich’s budgeting and tax decisions, and 12 small cities have lost at least $2 million each, per year.
The lawmakers’ proposal would transfer money from the Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund, to 31 communities on the state auditor’s Fiscal Distress List that received lower Local Government Fund (LGF) allocations than what they received in Fiscal Year (FY) 2008.
“Ohio is currently sitting on a $2 billion surplus while so many of our local communities are hurting. Drastic budget cuts overseen by Governor Kasich have left local communities with fewer resources available to provide essential services such as police and fire, infrastructure investment and public education,” said Smith. “Although some might say the sun is shining for the state of Ohio, it has definitely been raining for many of these local communities. If we are not going to help these 31 communities in a time of fiscal distress, then what is the purpose of the Rainy Day Fund?”
Under the proposed bill, local communities in fiscal distress would receive a portion of $25,860,726 – the total amount they would have received under LGF allocation levels from Fiscal Year 2008 – from the Rainy Day Fund.
“The Budget Stabilization Funds are intended to be a resource for Ohio communities in times of economic distress,” said Boggs. “Well, we know that these 31 communities are in distress, in large part because of the severe budget cuts imposed by the state. By utilizing about one-percent of the money stockpiled in the Rainy Day Fund, we can help restore the communities hardest hit by budget cuts and provide some much-needed stability for the communities that Ohioans call home.”
The current balance of the Rainy Day Fund is over $2 billion.
The LGF is an over 80-year old revenue sharing program that has been essential to helping local communities deliver basic public services that maintain property values, protect safety and enhance the quality of life.