State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) today announced legislation to support 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 the local government fund by forty-five percent. Over 70 cities have lost at least $1 million each year due to Kasich’s budgeting and tax decisions. These cuts have forced to communities to raise taxes, cut essential services, and delay needed repairs, just to keep their heads above water.
If passed, this legislation will allocate money from the Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund, to 26 communities on the Auditor of State Fiscal Distress List that received lower Local Government Fund (LGF) allocations than what they received in Fiscal Year (FY) 2008.
“Governing magazine did a 50 state analysis of state cuts to local schools and communities and they found that Ohio's cuts were the second worst in the nation behind Arizona, and three times the national average,” said Smith. “Governor Kasich's tax shifting policies have hurt communities all across the state, but these 26 cities, townships and villages are suffering the most. While the Governor never served as a local official, many of my General Assembly colleagues have that background. I call upon my fellow lawmakers to do what is right, to correct this damaging policy and fix these 26 communities.”
Under the proposed bill, local communities in fiscal distress would receive a portion of $23,299,717 – the total amount they would have received under LGF allocation levels from Fiscal Year 2008 – from the Rainy Day Fund.
“Over the past few years, our local communities have been stripped of state resources and as a result now find themselves in fiscal distress,” said Boggs. “Utilizing money stockpiled in the Budget Stabilization Funds will help restore our most vulnerable communities. It’s time we use the Rainy Day Fund as it is intended and provide stability for communities all across the state of Ohio.”
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.