Local governments have felt the pinch in a steady decline of state government funding to their coffers. Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted in their recent budget release are making a commitment to the state’s local government partners. Governor DeWine demonstrated that partnership in his first budget proposal with the transportation budget and the increase in the state’s gas tax to help repair and fix Ohio’s roads, forty percent of the state gas tax goes to local governments.
Governor DeWine’s budget proposal doesn’t address the long discussed Local Government Fund or LGF changes that occurred in the last administration. The Governor is though providing additional supports and resources to local governments in a number of areas where the state has not traditionally funding services at a high level.
One big area is an increase in state support for indigent defense. Governor DeWine is proposing an increase of $60 million new dollars per year to go towards the state share of indigent defense. Traditionally, Ohio counties have been responsible for picking up the cost of making sure each and every Ohioan accused of a crime who isn’t able to afford representation has access to a lawyer.
Governor DeWine is proposing providing Ohio’s libraries with an additional $8.5 million per year. Libraries can be the corner stone of a community and play important roles in workforce development and with literacy initiatives. The Governor has proposed adding more money to local drug task forces to support local law enforcement offices in their efforts to fight drug trafficking in their communities. The proposal adds and additional $8 million per year to this effort.
The Governor’s proposal also restores a change made in the previous budget to divert a small portion of the Local Government Fund to support efforts to fight the Opioid epidemic. Adding $33.8 million in FY 20 back to the LGF and an additional $6.4 million in revenue growth to the LGF.
Additionally, the Governor has proposed increasing resources to counties to create probation departments where there currently isn’t one. Funding would increase by $16.1 million to those counties to support these efforts.
Missing in the budget proposal are increased funding specifically for cities, villages, and townships. This is an area where there is certain to be continued conversations and focus during the budget process.
You can find more information on Ohio’s budget by visiting these links: