Local government fund concerns by Gov. Kasich budget proposal - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Township leaders react to Kasich's budget proposal

(FOX19) -

On Monday, the governor unveiled his $63 billion plan for 2014 and 2015. He's dubbing it "Ohio's jobs budget 2.0."

The budget, that is basically a proposal, is 759 pages long.

Among the highlights:

  • It reduces the tax rate on most small businesses by half.
  • It cuts the income tax rate by 20% over three years.
  • It lowers the sales tax rate from 5.5 to 5%.
  • It places taxes on professional services such as lawyers and accountants, and increases tax on large-volume oil and gas drillers.
  • It delivers $1.2 billion in additional funding to districts.
  • It expands Medicaid health care coverage for the poor under the new federal health law.

However, a change to the Local Government Fund has city and township officials talking.

In 2012, Ohio counties and municipalities received $94 million from the state.

Kasich's last budget has it chopped to only $348 million, and although that number would increase by 4.5% in 2014 and another 3.5% in 2015, the number comes nowhere close to what they got in 2012.

"One of the things that has been a question mark was the new budget going to reflect with regards to local government funds, so while flat is not exactly what we were looking for the fact that we're not looking to lose any additional money is somewhat of a relief," Jim Rowan, administrator for Colerain Township.

Township administrators breathed a sigh of relief after thumbing through hundreds of pages and seeing that the local government fund would not suffer more cuts.

"I am glad they didn't further any cuts. Yes," agreed Pete Landrum, Delhi Township Administrator. "But we have no way of making those dollars up and I will just put a plug, townships don't receive casino money."

Townships like Colerain and Delhi lost more than a million dollars with cuts from the last budget and community services are taking the hit.

"What do you value in a community? You enjoy your parks, your community center your fire, your police, but we can't continue to operate the way we have in the past," Rowan said. "We have to be creative. Eventually we're going to have to figure out a way to solve this million and half dollar problem."

Cincinnati City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld issued a statement shortly after 'Ohio's Jobs Budget 2.0' was released.

"At a time when local governments around the state are being forced to slash basic services, lay off safety personnel, raise taxes, and sell off assets just to stay afloat, it's out-of-touch for Governor Kasich not to reverse his raid on our local government fund. We don't pay taxes to pad the Governor's soundbites, we pay them to maintain our roads and keep cops on the street. This should not be a partisan issue. It's simply illogical governance to make the state look good while in the process hurting Ohio's cities."

In our commitment to balanced news, the governor's office has responded to concerns about the local government fund.

"It's just different priorities. We want reduce taxes to make Ohio jobs-friendly and put Ohioans back to work, while they want to grow government."

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved.

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