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    Default Local Government Fund

    Anyone know when this issue is up for approval? Hopefully Taft doesn't shut it down!

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    From the Ohio Township Assoc. website:

    http://www.cpmra.muohio.edu/otaohio

    HB 66 Update (Biennium Budget)The most devastating cut in HB 66 is the 10% cut to the Local Government Funds for townships. The LGF is a very important revenue source to local governments and any reduction in those funds is difficult to replace, especially in townships. To replace any revenue lost, a township will have to place a property tax levy on the ballot seeking voter approval. The Governor proposed the cuts as a means to help balance the state's budget, The LGF will be frozen through December 2005 and then beginning in January 2006, a 20% reduction to counties and cities, a 10% reduction to villages and townships and 5% cut to libraries will take place. The Ohio Township Association, Ohio Municipal League, County Commissioners Association of Ohio and the Ohio Library Council will continue to oppose any cuts to the LGF, especially these large, disproportionate cuts proposed by the Governor.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    OHIO BUDGET
    Surplus of $810M may cancel some cuts
    Local government funds may benefit

    By JIM PROVANCE
    BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU


    COLUMBUS - Funding for local governments and libraries would be restored and prescription-drug assistance for the poorest of the poor may survive after Ohio budget forecasters yesterday gave lawmakers $810 million more to play with over the next two years.


    Gov. Bob Taft is also asking lawmakers to use part of the surplus to ease pressure on its bricks-and-mortar borrowing. The pressure was partly created by decisions to divert $467.8 million in tobacco settlement funds earmarked for school construction to patch short-term budget holes and replace those dollars with long-term capital bonds.

    A late spurt in tax collections for the current fiscal year is expected to contribute to a year-end surplus of $500 million on June 30, some of which is expected to go into the state's budgetary reserves as a hedge against future economic downturns.

    The improved performance, offset by revised projections for Medicaid spending, led to estimates that $480 million in additional resources would be available for discretionary spending next year and $330 million in 2007.

    "There is good reason to expect continued favorable conditions for the next two years simply given the strength with which some of our revenues are ending in fiscal year '05," Budget Director Tom Johnson told a House-Senate conference committee.

    The committee must fashion a compromise between differing versions of a $51 billion, two-year budget passed by each chamber. It will meet again next week.

    Mr. Taft and Republican leaders of the House and Senate agreed the top priority is cancellation of revenue-sharing cuts for local governments and libraries.

    The Senate-passed budget before the conference committee would cut support for cities by 10 percent on the first $1 million in aid and 20 percent of every dollar thereafter.

    For Toledo, that would have translated into a cut of $3.6 million.

    Counties would have been cut 10 percent and public libraries 5 percent while townships and villages would have been frozen at current levels. The new plan would expand the freeze to everyone.

    "Any cut to the local government fund would have been to Toledo and other major cities a cut to police and fire," Toledo City Councilman Frank Szollosi said. "It seems to me that with everything else a mess in Columbus, why would they want to make enemies of fire and police in the major cities of Ohio?"

    Senate President Bill Harris (R., Ashland) and House Speaker Jon Husted (R., Kettering) agreed with Mr. Taft that school buildings and replenishment of the state's budgetary reserves should be high on the priority list.

    But the legislative leaders cited additional priorities of rolling back a proposed 30 percent hike in the kilowatt-hour tax on electricity, preserving the last-resort prescription drug assistance program, and funneling more to colleges and universities during the second year of the biennium. Higher education receives little new funding under the current plan.

    "New programs and new spending only tie the hands of future legislators," Mr. Husted said. "Through the actions we take now, we invest for today and save for tomorrow."

    Providing more instructional funds for school districts was not on the list.

    While applauding restoration of the local government funds, Rep. Edna Brown (D., Toledo) said medical programs slated for cuts should be at the top of the list.

    "I think the rainy-day fund and the school facilities need to be done, but those two items should come behind the needs of the people," she said. "These were addressed early on, but no one would listen. It wasn't a priority for the people who were making the decisions."

    The budget as passed by both chambers would drop 25,000 working-poor parents from general Medicaid health-care rolls; eliminate the Disability Medical Assistance program providing prescription drugs for 15,000 extremely poor, medication-dependent Ohioans, and end routine Medicaid dental care for adults.

    Mr. Taft's tax-reform plan has largely survived intact. The plan calls for a 21 percent reduction in personal income taxes over five years and gradual replacement of two business taxes with a new tax on gross sales.

    But Lt. Gov. Bruce Johnson asked the committee to remove exemptions added to the gross-receipts tax that he said undermine efforts to have as broad and fair a tax as possible.

    Among those was an exemption exclusively for businesses at a federally approved foreign trade zone at Rickenbacker Airport south of Columbus, a move that the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority charged would place its zone at a competitive disadvantage.

    Contact Jim Provance at:
    jprovance@theblade.com
    or 614-221-0496.


    http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs...100336/-1/NEWS
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    Taft is probably praising the Lord right now. This might have saved his head from the chopping block.

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    Originally posted by tyler101
    Taft is probably praising the Lord right now. This might have saved his head from the chopping block.
    I think it might be more like he is desperately trying to find some things to divert attention from the BWC investment fiasco
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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