They had to pay for their enormous tax cuts somehow and Ohio Republicans decided to do it on the backs of local governments.

So if your local government has raised taxes since 2010, perhaps you’ve spied the pea under the shell. But probably not, because they’ve likely pocketed that as well.

Research institute Policy Matters Ohio is out with a new report tracking the devastating impacts of our good state’s best Kansas impersonation.

Don’t anybody go being knocked over with a feather, but the new issue brief shows that cuts to local governments have been wantonly destructive, and restoring that funding would do no small bit to boost quality of life and competitiveness in our cities, towns and villages. And that would just be oojah-cum-spiff, I should think.

From a Policy Matters news release:

For more than a decade, Ohio communities endured significant revenue losses from eliminating the estate tax, ending reimbursements for business taxes and cutting the Local Government Fund in half. Casino revenue and rebates from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation occasionally help in some places, but for large urban counties and most cities, funding loss has been significant and unmitigated.

“Ohio communities are working with $1 billion less, in inflation-adjusted terms, than in 2010,” said Wendy Patton, Senior Project Director and report author. “Ohioans feel it in poorly-maintained roads, reduced snowplowing, higher fees and fewer recreation options.”

On a per-capita basis, Cincinnati and Hamilton County suffered the greatest losses, yet smaller cities also experienced big losses when population is taken into account.  The three C’s – Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati – and their respective counties suffered the largest annual dollar loss.

The report highlights recommendations to restore Ohio communities, such as boosting the Local Government Fund and increasing the motor fuel tax for use by local governments, as other states have. Ohio’s motor fuel tax is much lower than neighboring states.

The necessary adjustment to Medicaid managed care services in the sales tax base should not harm local governments that piggyback the state sales tax.  The drug epidemic makes it essential that the state adequately fund health and human services.

“Ohio communities bear an unusually high share of some health and human services,” said Patton. “With state cuts to local levies and local government, funding for critical services like community mental health, children’s and senior services must be shared by the state.”

Read the full report, and don’t be shy about phoning your representative in state government.

D.C. DeWitt is a writer and man of sport and leisure. He has also written for Government Executive’s, the National Journal’s The Hotline, and The New York Observer’s He is the Associate Editor of The Athens NEWS in Athens, Ohio. DeWitt can be found on Facebook and Twitter @DC_DeWitt.

  • Public Ed Partners

    Our ALEC legislators have turned their sights on local governments. After two years of operation, the American City County Exchange (ACCE) has not strayed from the ALEC model of producing model bills by and for corporate sponsors who either intend to prey on the public without regulation or retribution, or who hope to privatize the ongoing services which are democratically and cost-effectively delivered by cities, towns, counties, and school boards throughout the country.

  • Public Ed Partners
  • Don DeLotell

    This is how Kasich and the Republican Ohio Legislature did their “shell” game–screw local governments, school districts, police, firefigters, teachers and nurses–and Ohio voters continue to vote all of them back into office–absurd!!

  • cwazycajun

    that neoliberal sounds suspiciously like republicons

  • JameSon

    It doesn’t seem to matter if it is state or federal government, the Republicans (they are the ones who voted for the tax cuts) are always looking for ways to give tax cuts and loopholes to reward top money earners. These tax cuts come on the backs of the middle class and those who can afford it the least. Greed is the name of the game. Voters need to educate themselves and quit voting for people based on a name they happen to recognize.

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