Not just schools seeking new money in levies this year

We released a study last week on how the Kasich cuts to education – $1.8 billion in the last budget – have stretched many Ohio school districts to the point of seeking new money or increased millage in levies this November.

In essence, the governor’s last budget simply balanced the state’s books on the backs of schools and local governments. Local governments were hit with the phaseout of the estate tax and drastic cuts to the Local Government Fund.

These cuts are apparent in local government levies as well this November.

For instance, Stark County has seen a reduction of over $10 million dollars in local government funds in the last 12 years. The Kasich cuts are the straw breaking the camel’s back in northeast Ohio. This November, fifteen local governments in Stark County will be seeking a tax levy. Seven of those local government levies are requests for additional funds.

In 2013, 17 townships, 13 villages, six cities, the Stark County government and the Stark County Park District will split $8.5 million in local government funds. That amount represents a 24% loss for each community from 2012.

From the Canton Repository: “Randy Gonzalez, fiscal officer for Jackson Township, said state funding for the township will be at least $2 million lower in 2013 than it was this year. The local government fund accounts for $107,637 of the loss. The largest chunk of the shortfall is the $1 million the township typically receives each year in estate tax revenue. The township had relied on the estate tax revenue to fund its parks.

‘We knew it was coming, and we’ve been planning and reducing our costs,’ Gonzalez said. ‘The trustees have merged three departments into one and eliminated two department heads. Now, it’s just a matter of losing services.’”

Jackson Township is requesting additional money on the November ballot. Voters will decide on a 2.2 mill, five-year levy that would provide for current expenses in the township.

Stark County’s Jackson Township is yet another example of how Kasich’s budget shifted the burden of balancing the state budget onto local taxpayers.