The U.S. Conference of Mayors, in partnership with the Ohio Mayors Alliance, released a report last week, “Ohio Metro Economies,” that highlights how Ohio cities and metro areas are the driving force of the state’s economy. According to the data, for almost two decades, Ohio’s metro areas have accounted for all of the state’s job gains and 87 percent of the state’s GDP gains. However, the health and future outlook of the overall statewide economy is not as strong. In the same time frame, most cities and towns across the state experienced net job loss. For Ohio to remain a competitive economy nationally, we need to renew invest in our urban cores and metro area transportation infrastructure. As the report indicates, construction job growth is specifically in the areas of roads and bridges. As we know from previous research, Ohio’s cities need a serious reinvestment in their transportation infrastructure in order for their region, and thus the state of Ohio, to achieve long-term economic growth, as residents are demanding their metro areas be more mobile and accessible. Approximately 2.4 million full-time jobs in Ohio are dependent on the state’s transportation infrastructure, including tourism and retail sales. Additionally, as companies look to re-locate or expand, they take note of the region’s transportation system, looking for areas with smoother, more-efficient transportation infrastructure. This lack of investment in our cities, both in targeted economic development projects and money towards workforce development and infrastructure, has caused our young residents to flee towards Sun Belt states, leaving Ohio’s workforce older and aging. This cycle of underinvestment will lead to an economic downturn when there is both a shrinking supply of workers and low demand for the goods and services produced in the state. Cities are the engines of Ohio’s economic growth. Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland each ranked in the top 100 largest economies in the world, exceeding the states of Montana and Arkansas. For Ohio to remain competitive nationally, in this new service-oriented economy, we need to create a strong, diversified, metro-focused statewide economy. Ohio will not grow without mindful, aggressive investment in its cities and surrounding metro regions. For more information, you can read the full report on the Ohio Mayors Alliance website.
On Friday, members of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) voted to oppose Governor Kasich’s proposal to increase Ohio’s severance taxes on oil and gas (fracking) to pay for an income tax cut. In their release, OFBF made clear that their opposition was not to the severance tax itself, but to Kasich’s plans to use the revenue:
“Farm Bureau voted to oppose an increase in the severance tax solely for the purpose of funding a state income tax reduction. If there is an increase in the severance tax, it should address local government funding, infrastructure needs, local and state economic development and mitigation of negative impacts on local communities and the environment.”[Read more…]
If you haven’t checked out the great work being done by our policy staff on our November 2012 School Levies page, check it out. We believe that the Kasich cuts to education in Ohio, which totaled $1.8 billion in the last state budget, are just coming home to roost in a local school district near you. Check out some of the individual levy profiles to see how much and how deep many districts have already cut budgets before going to the voters. First watch this two minute video of IO President Janetta King putting our work into context:
We’ve been working to highlight how the Kasich Administration’s $1.8 billion in Ohio public education cuts have lead many school districts around the state to the November ballot seeking new or additional local tax dollars. The same thing is happening for some local governments in Ohio as well. [Read more…]
Yesterday, Ohio’s State Auditor confirmed to the Dayton Daily News what we already know: John Kasich’s budget cuts are causing severe challenges to local communications, in many cases resulting in tax increases.
Cuts to local funding and continued economic difficulties could lead to more Ohio municipalities landing in fiscal trouble during the coming years, state Auditor David Yost warned recently during an exclusive interview with the Dayton Daily News.
In an examination of how the Governor’s budget will impact communities in the Dayton area, the article lays out the grim facts:
In July, Gov. John Kasich said he plans to cut another 25 percent next year from local government funding — already cut 25 percent — draining $14.4 million from governments in Montgomery, Greene and Warren counties, according to the Ohio Department of Taxation. Also next year, cities and villages will have to adjust to the repeal of estate taxes. In 2010, area communities reported collecting $18 million from the estate tax.
The result? Cuts to public services, job losses and tax hikes:
In response, cities have sought new levies, cut staff and services funded through general operating budgets.
It’s not limited to Dayton. The President of Canton’s City Council penned a scathing editorial in the Repository about impacts there:
Due in large part to the radical budgetary agenda of Gov. John Kasich and his Republican allies in Columbus, our city is now faced with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The projected shortfall, between $4 million and $5 million, would result in the dismissal of 90 police officers and firefighters, as well as other draconian measures. It would devastate our community.
Earlier this year, Innovation Ohio tabulated the damage and mapped budget cuts for each of Ohio’s 88 counties on a map and chart, available here.