March 2nd, 2018
State Reps. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) and John Rogers (D- Mentor-on-the-Lake) today introduced legislation to reinstate the Local Government Fund (LGF) back to the 2005 funding levels. The LGF in each county, township, city and village pay for a wide range of vital services from police, fire and ambulances, parks and recreation and public health clinics.
“The purpose of this legislation is simple,” said Cera. “Our local communities are struggling to make ends meet and provide basic vital services. We can alleviate their financial burden by reinstating cuts to the LGF. The safety of our citizens is at risk and I believe enough is enough.”
According to Cera, the lead Democrat on the House’s state budget committee, the cuts that were made in 2011 to close the state budget deficit were done to the detriment of local communities, some of which have had to eliminate essential services, trim police and fire budgets and slash local school funding.
“State cuts, coupled with tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations, have created significant funding shortages at the local level, forcing many Ohio communities to tighten their belts to the point where they can’t adequately support many essential services like public safety, schools and road maintenance,” said Cera.
LGF increases would begin in July 2018 and continue in each fiscal year thereafter.
“Now that the state is sitting on a large budget surplus, we need to help our local communities recover,” said Rogers. “Taxpayers are frustrated and local governments are looking to the legislature for help. The state government has an obligation to partner with local governments, not bankrupt them.”
The legislators also noted that right now people are upset with the outbreak of potholes on Ohio’s roadways that occur this time of year. Increased LGF resources, they say, could be used to repair local roadways.
“Uneven roads and potholes make driving dangerous and can lead to accidents and added maintenance costs for Ohio drivers. Returning funds to local communities will help fix this problem,” said Cera.
Once numbered, the bill will be referred to a House committee for its initial hearings.