Ohio under Kasich’s budget microscope

Feb 08, 2012

Aug 31, 2011

Gov. John Kasich faces tough decisions to turn around Ohio’s economic woes and insists that “every single program goes under the microscope.”

Speaking to the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, Kasich said the status quo isn’t working and significant changes are needed. He will ask, “Do we need it? Can we privatize it? Improve it? Combine it?” as he considers options to deal with Ohio’s estimated $8 billion budget deficit.

OSCPA recently testified before committees in the Ohio Senate and House supporting privatizing Ohio’s economic development efforts through JobsOhio. Clearly aligned with recommendations made in OSCPA’s Budget Advisory Task Force Report (OBATF), JobsOhio is one of Gov. Kasich’s first major efforts to reform state government.

Could you balance Ohio’s budget?

As governor, what would you do to find the $8 billion necessary to balance Ohio’s budget? The Columbus Dispatch has a new online “budget calculator” that asks you to solve Ohio’s budget crisis. One OSCPA member testing the system identified ways to generate a surplus of $4.795 billion. But at what cost?

The calculator gives 34 options, including:

  • Raise the state sales tax 
  • Raise the state income tax 
  • Raise the commercial activities tax on business 
  • Eliminate sales- or income-tax exemptions for special interests 
  • Cut state aid to K-12 education 
  • Cut state aid to cities and towns 
  • Cut pay of state employees

Be sure to come back and share your results with OSCPA on this web page.

Next up: more efficient government

OSCPA testified last week supporting efforts to mandate performance audits for state agencies on a rotating basis, a program that will aid Ohio in its efforts to make government more efficient and cost-effective. H.B. 2 would require at least four state agencies each year to undergo a performance audit of their operations to ensure public funding is being spent appropriately and effectively.

Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost volunteered his office to be the first to undergo a performance audit. “People are tired of government telling them to do what it’s not willing to do itself,” Yost said. “My office will be the first state agency during my tenure to be evaluated through a performance audit, and I look forward to learning where we might better streamline our operations.”

The bill also includes a funding component by establishing the Leverage for Efficiency, Accountability and Performance Fund (L.E.A.P. Fund). The L.E.A.P. Fund will make available $1.5 million to advance costs of a performance audit to state agencies and local governments that might otherwise not be able to afford to have one conducted. Costs will be repaid the following year from the savings reaped from the audit’s recommendations and sown again into new performance audits. 

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