|
|
The Suburbanite
  • Right approach: Carrots and sticks

  • The issue: Ohio’s Local Government Fund

    Our view: Schuring’s bill forces cities, others to face hard questions about spending

    • email print
  • The issue: Ohio’s Local Government Fund
    Our view: Schuring’s bill forces cities, others to face hard questions about spending
    Gov. John Kasich doesn’t like the Obama health care law, but he does want Ohio tax dollars to come back home from Washington to expand the state’s Medicaid program. This is, as we’ve said before, the same argument Canton, Stark County and other local governments should be using with state legislators to try to boost the size of the Local Government Fund in the state’s next two-year budget.
    Hey, Columbus, they should say, send more of our own residents’ tax dollars back home.
    Rep. Kirk Schuring adds an important “yes, but”: Yes, but Kasich can also say that the state has done its part by saving millions of dollars in Medicaid spending through recent efficiencies, including coordinating care for Ohioans who use both Medicaid and Medicare.
    Can local governments say the same?
    They would have to if Schuring has his way in a bill he introduced this week.
    The Republican from Jackson Township wants the next budget’s general fund to include $200 million for grants to communities that have been hit hard by the gutting of the Local Government Fund over the past two years. They could apply for money on two conditions: They would have to show that without it, they must cut services. And they would have to draw up a two-year plan to demonstrate how they would balance their budget through efficiencies such as sharing resources with other local governments.
    Governments that receive grants might have to undergo a performance audit afterward. This is a good idea. And it would be a less painful procedure than usual because they already would have asked themselves the hard questions about spending when they basically audited themselves as part of the grant application.
    Take Canton, for instance. How would the mayor and City Council propose to offset with efficiencies some $750,000 a year in recently approved and proposed pay raises for city employees?
    Schuring’s bill is a classic carrot-and-stick approach to shrinking government, and it’s the approach that the Legislature and the governor should take. We hope the bill survives the legislative meat grinder over the next few weeks.