While in Dublin, Ohio recently with State Senator Jim Hughes, Governor Kasich was clear about his desire to see local governments work to provide better services at a lower cost to taxpayers. By finding ways to share services and cut costs, these districts will be responsibly dealing with fewer funds as Ohio fixes the $8 billion gap Gov. Kasich inherited. The Columbus Dispatch has more below:
Even if revenue improves, local governments and schools should not expect much relief from the cuts proposed in the two-year state budget, Gov. John Kasich said yesterday as he again stressed the need for governments to become more efficient.
Schools are facing cuts of about $800 million, and the reduction is about $640 million for other local governments in the two-year, $55.6 billion state budget, which passed the House and is under debate in the Senate.
“If we don’t go on a diet that will lead us to a healthier tomorrow, we’re not going to make it,” Kasich told about 30 small-business owners and city officials at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Dublin. “We are losing jobs because people say your costs are too high. Everybody has to embrace this change.”
While local governments are asking for more money, “I don’t believe, necessarily, that they’ll go ask local voters for tax increases,” said Sen. Chris Widener, R-Springfield, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “I think many of them will be in a position to do things differently.”
The budget attempts to make it easier for governments to consolidate services or merge townships. Also, if the Senate restores the provision, the budget could save governments and schools money by forcing public workers to pay an additional 2 percent of their salary toward their pension.
Kasich also mentioned the savings from Senate Bill 5, the collective-bargaining bill. However, it likely will be placed on hold until at least November, when it probably will be challenged at the ballot.
“I would encourage local governments to start embracing these tools to support the budget and get themselves in a position where they can control their costs,” Kasich said.
“There will be a little bit more spending than what we proposed in our budget, but I don’t expect it will be significant,” Kasich told reporters, adding that he would like to put money back into the state’s rainy-day fund and make an as-yet-unspecified tax cut in 2012.
“I think the legislature realizes it’s smart not to count on some big jump in revenues.”
You can read the entire article here.