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Cuts add up to big impact on local communities


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State decisions impact our local communities. As a result of state budget cuts, many communities have cut hours at rec. centers, reduced police and fire department staff, and cut services for those most in need. The Cincinnati Enquirer (Gannet News) compiled the numbers to compare local government revenues. As a result of state decisions, local governments and schools have lost nearly $2 billion since 2011.

What did the state do? 

  1. – 50% cut to the Local Government Fund

  2. – Cut TPP reimbursements. (The Tangible Personal Property (TPP) tax allowed local property taxes to be levied on equipment and machinery. In 2005 the state eliminated that local tax, but guaranteed to help local governments transition their tax base). These reimbursements were cut in 2011.

  3. – Elimination of the estate tax in 2013

  4. – Phase out of the utilities tax (started in 2007).

  5. – Eliminated a 12.5% property tax rollback on future levies.

“The Cuts Were Small – you can handle them.” – Governor Kasich. Local communities lost nearly $2 billion. This is a substantial amount of money spent primarily on income tax cuts for the wealthy that do little to benefit the rest of the state.

While the Local Government Fund doesn’t finance the majority of a city’s operations (the cut  amounted to a 3-5% loss for local communities), it accounted for revenue to invest where the local community needed it. These funds were used to keep rec. centers open, provide services to at-risk teens, or financed activities to senior citizens. A 3-5% cut dramatically reduces or eliminates these programs. 3-5% cuts matter.

Likewise, the elimination of the estate tax was not, by itself, a devastating blow to local communities, (we can’t count on wealthy individuals dying for annual budget solvency), but many communities used this revenue to replace aging equipment (like fire trucks), or restore the neighborhood park and playground. Without these funds, those fire trucks aren’t replaced and playgrounds and ball fields aren’t updated.

Small cuts to communities lead to big impact for community services.  Yes, as a result of a growing economy, increased income and sales tax revenues have helped many communities.  Many Local communities weathered state cuts by making their own cuts and raising taxes at the local level. Forgone maintenance, suspended cost-of-living adjustments, reduced hours of operation, and under-staffed offices are the new normal. These cuts continue to ripple throughout our state.

New investment is needed. Nearly 1 out of 4 of Ohio’s kids are in poverty.  With many unmet needs in our communities and across Ohio, we need to find new ways to invest in Ohio’s future. Budgets are more than balance sheets and acronyms. Budgets matter to the people who are part of the community. We all benefit from great public services that strengthen our communities.

#localgovernment

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