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State continues to stockpile millions while keeping 31 communities in fiscal distress

Lawmaker says recent surplus deposit could shore up locals in facing financial emergencies
July 28, 2016
Democrat Newsroom

State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today criticized the state’s recent decision to stockpile Ohio’s Rainy Day budget surplus fund with an extra $30 million instead of sending the money back to 31 local communities listed in fiscal distress by the state. Reps. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) and Smith this year introduced House Bill (HB) 508 to lift 31 communities listed in fiscal distress by the state, a measure that would require just under $30 million. 

“This latest addition to the state’s massive surplus highlights the Kasich administration’s arrogance by showing they simply doesn’t understand or care what it’s like on the ground in local communities throughout our state like Clarksville, East Cleveland and Galion,” said Smith. “The fact is the administration continues to withhold critical tax revenue generated in these local communities by stockpiling some bank account in Columbus. Meanwhile, locals are forced to raise taxes, cut essential services or let infrastructure crumble. It is hypocritical that the Rainy Day fund was built on the backs of our communities, but even more so now that The Administration continues to withhold needed revenues from the cities, towns and villages that make up our state.”

Since taking office, Gov. Kasich has cut over close to $2 billion from local community funding. Wednesday, the state announced a nearly $30 million deposit into the Rainy Day Fund, or the Budget Stabilization Fund, which has a current balance of over $2 billion – a number that almost exactly matches GOP budget cuts to local schools and communities.

Under HB 508, local communities in fiscal distress would receive a portion of $25,860,726 from the Rainy Day Fund, matching the total amount they would have received under the state’s local government fund (LGF) allocation levels from Fiscal Year 2008.

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.